Quirks & Quarks

Children Are Not Sitting Pretty

In an experimental study of young girls, those who sat for extended periods of time had compromised vascular function.

Like adults, sitting may compromise childrens' health

Watching TV stimulates food intake. (Nasser Shiyoukhi/Associated Press)
The link between prolonged sitting and health issues in adults is now well understood. But a new study by Dr. Ali McManus, an Associate Professor from the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, has found that children's health also suffers from long periods of uninterrupted sitting.

In an experiment that focused on vascular health, young girls sat for three hours on two separate occasions; one session included ten minutes of exercise each hour, the other had no exercise. When the results were compared, vascular function - normal blood flow - was found to decrease by as much as 33 percent after the three hour period without exercise.

The girl's arteries did recover, but there is still concern about the impact of prolonged sitting in children who live a sedentary lifestyle.

Related Links

Paper in Experimental Physiology
- The Physiological Society release
- New York Times blog
Quirks feature, Are We Sitting Ducks?