Children who are lazy and inactive may later face chronic health problems, says a study that advices parents of such children to take steps before it is too late.
Kamlesh Khunti and other researchers at Leicester University investigated activity levels among more than 3,500 pupils from five inner city secondary schools in Leicester and found that children face years of ill health because they are not active enough.
"This study shows that overall the physical activity levels in inner city school children are very low," said Khunti.
"Parents, schools and community health providers need to address the results of these findings to reduce their future risks of developing diabetes and heart disease in children," he said.
Khunti added that those of South Asian origin in Britain were at particular risk of both heart disease and diabetes. Children of parents who suffer from these conditions were also at extra risk of developing them as a result of inactivity.
Junk food, sedentary lifestyles and excessive television and computer usage have been blamed for creating couch potato children. At the same time, many children no longer take part in competitive sport at school, reported online edition of the Daily Mail.
Previous studies have shown that physical inactivity plays a major role in health. Those who are physically inactive face a risk of developing coronary artery disease. It also increases the risk of stroke and such other major cardiovascular risk factors as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol that is good for health.
The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
Increased physical activity has been associated with an increased life expectancy and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, scientists said. Physical activity also produces overall physical, psychological and social benefits. Inactive children are likely to become inactive adults.