Newswise — The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adolescents do at least 60 minutes of activity every day for heart health. This daily recommendation does not consider whether variations in activity behavior throughout the week may alter this health benefit. In this study of nearly 4000 US youth, the investigators examined associations of day-to-day physical activity and sedentary behavior patterns with several cardiovascular disease risk factors. As might be expected, higher average amounts and intensity of physical activity had beneficial associations with several cardiovascular disease risk factors. However, a novel finding was that day-to-day patterns that result in increased average intensity late in the week also may lower some risk factors, given the same amount and intensity of physical activity. These day-to-day physical activity and sedentary patterns may provide more information than simply an average summary measure. This research highlights the health importance of both the amount of physical activity and sedentary behavior for cardiovascular health, and suggest some contribution of daily pattern.

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