Physical activity and increased body mass can improve lung function development in children

Increased physical activity and a higher BMI can combat lung function deficits in early childhood, according to a study published in the journal Thorax. The research, conducted by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, analyzed data on 1,151 children and adolescents aged 4-18 years.

The study revealed that higher levels of physical activity between the ages of 4 and 7, as well as a higher BMI at age 4, can contribute to increased lung function growth. This research is crucial as the decline in lung function during childhood is a risk factor for chronic respiratory diseases in adulthood.

Sarah Koch, a researcher at ISGlobal, highlighted the significance of the findings, stating, “Low lung function in early childhood does not automatically lead to poor lung function in early adulthood. Accelerated growth can help recover early-life deficits and result in normal values in adolescence.”

Using spirometry to assess lung function, the researchers emphasized the importance of understanding the determinants that predict lung function growth in children and adolescents. They emphasized the need for clinical management and public health policies to promote physical activity and a healthy diet in children with low baseline lung function, suboptimal environmental conditions, or early-life allergies.

Koch underscored the importance of these interventions in enhancing respiratory health in childhood and adulthood. She stated, “This can help overcome growth limitations in lung function and improve respiratory health in childhood and adulthood.” This study sheds light on the significance of lifestyle factors in combating respiratory issues from an early age.


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