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Reuters Health: AHA urges schools to share fitness data with doctors to boost kids' cardiorespiratory health

By Lisa Rappaport

Many U.S. children and teens have poor cardiorespiratory fitness, and schools could help improve their health by sharing results from fitness screenings with kids' healthcare providers, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association.

Most pediatric healthcare providers don't have the capacity to do cardiorespiratory fitness tests in their offices, and receiving this information from schools whenever possible might alert clinicians when interventions are needed to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, according to the AHA.

That's because children with poor cardiorespiratory fitness are at increased risk for premature heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure as well as premature deaths from heart attack or stroke, according to the AHA. By contrast, children with good cardiorespiratory fitness tend to have a lower risk of these types of health problems and a longer life.

"Pediatricians should encourage physical education, recess, sports, and physical activity that kids enjoy at every annual health maintenance visit," said Dr. Geetha Raghuveer, chair of the committee that drafted the AHA scientific statement and a pediatric cardiologist at Children's Mercy Hospital and the University of Missouri Kansas City.

Beyond improving health outcomes, schools might also improve academic outcomes by doing this, according to the AHA. Improved cardiorespiratory fitness has been linked in previous studies to improved mental health, better cognitive skills, and higher self-esteem - all of which can lead to better school outcomes, the AHA notes.


Read the full story via Reuters Health

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