Poor physical fitness, passive hobbies may increase pain conditions in children

Poor physical fitness and sedentary behaviour are linked to increased pain conditions in children as young as 6-8 years old, according to the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland. The findings were published in the Journal of Pain.

The study analysed the association of physical fitness, exercise, physically passive hobbies and body fat content with various pain conditions in 439 children. Out of individual pain conditions, physically unfit children suffered from headaches more frequently than others. High amounts of screen time and other sedentary behaviour were also associated with increased prevalence of pain conditions.

Pain experienced in childhood and adolescence often persists later in life. This is why it is important to prevent chronic pain, recognise the related risk factors and address them early on. Physical fitness in childhood and introducing pause exercises to the hobbies of physically passive children could prevent the development of pain conditions.

The Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study carried out by the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Eastern Finland generates extensive and scientifically valuable public health data on children's lifestyle habits, health and well-being.

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