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Early babies more likely to face lifelong fitness risks

  • Children born early are more likely to have poor physical fitness, new study finds
  • Babies born from 37 to 38 weeks had 57 % risk of poor cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Study shows babies born even a few weeks early could face lifelong fitness risks

Children born prematurely are more likely to have poor physical fitness later in life, a new study has found.

Researchers from the University of Queensland said the study showed babies born even just a few weeks before the due date have a greater risk of poor cardiorespiratory fitness throughout their lives.

Associate Professor Isabel Ferreira said babies delivered between 37 and 38 weeks had a 57 per cent greater risk compared with babies born at 39 to 42 weeks.

Children born prematurely are more likely to have poor physical fitness later in life, a new study has found (Stock image)

The study found babies delivered between 37 and 38 weeks had a 57 per cent greater risk compared with babies born at 39 to 42 weeks (stock image)

The study found babies delivered between 37 and 38 weeks had a 57 per cent greater risk compared with babies born at 39 to 42 weeks (stock image)

‘Recent trends towards electively delivering babies earlier are worrisome in view of the health risks this may bring to the child,’ Dr Ferreira said.

‘It is becoming increasingly evident that babies born earlier – even by only a few weeks – may face more adverse health outcomes as they get older.

‘These could include neurological, cognitive and respiratory issues in adolescence and early adulthood.’

Cardiorespiratory fitness reflects the ability of the circulatory, respiratory and muscular systems to supply oxygen to muscles during exercise.

Dr Ferreira said the findings could discourage women from opting an ‘early term’ caesarean-sections or induced labour.

The study showed babies born even just a few weeks before the due date have a greater risk of poor cardiorespiratory fitness throughout their lives (stock image)

The study showed babies born even just a few weeks before the due date have a greater risk of poor cardiorespiratory fitness throughout their lives (stock image)

‘Health care providers and mothers should be informed of the lifelong health risks that early term deliveries may have on babies, and refrain from these unless there is a medical reason,’ she said.

‘Mothers could be deterred from having scheduled caesarean-sections or induced labour without a medical reason.’

Not only will children struggle with physical activity, Dr Ferreira said having poor cardiorespiratory functioning could have a ‘snowball effect’ later in life.

She told The Courier Mail they could face risks of obesity and certain diseases.

‘The levels of your fitness is very strongly linked to the possibility that you are going to develop metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction and strokes and peripheral lifestyle diseases,’ she said. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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