“Lack of physical activity and fitness as a child can lead to an increased risk of heart disease according to new research. Robert McMurray and his team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown for the first time that heart disease factors, known collectively as metabolic syndrome in teenagers are influenced by a child's level of fitness and physical activity. Evidence of metabolic syndrome includes diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. ‘Many metabolic syndrome factors develop at an early age, before adolescence,’ explained McMurray. ‘Being able to determine which youth are at high metabolic syndrome risk is thus beneficial when considering methods of prevention. We've found that low levels of childhood physical activity and aerobic fitness are associated with metabolic syndrome in adolescents, so efforts need to begin early in childhood to increase exercise."