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Advancing the understanding of physical activity and cardiovascular risk factors in children: the European Youth Heart Study (EYHS)
  1. Lars Bo Andersen1,2,
  2. Karsten Froberg1
  1. 1Department of Exercise Epidemiology, Center of Research in Childhood Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Professor Lars Bo Andersen, Department of Exercise Epidemiology, Center of Research in Childhood Health, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, Odense 5230, Denmark; lboandersen{at}health.sdu.dk

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Research in physical activity (PA) and health in children began around 1980. Some of the studies were continued as longitudinal investigations; these included the Amsterdam Growth and Health Study, Young Finns Study, Leuven Longitudinal Study, the Danish Youth and Sports Study and Northern Ireland Young Hearts Study.1 The field still suffered from methodological problems related to the assessment of PA and lack of well-defined health status.

The European Youth Heart Study (EYHS)

The EYHS was designed in the early 1990s as a multicenter study. We aimed to overcome some of the limitations by (1) getting sufficient statistical power to show biologically important associations between PA and health outcomes by pooling data, (2) analysing determinants of PA, (3) comparing PA and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor levels across cultures and (4) to improve the assessment of PA with objective methods and outcomes by constructing a composite risk factor score. Blood sample analysis, including genetic mapping and the study of new risk factors that were not recognised at the time EYHS, was designed.

We included dietary intake, aerobic fitness test, skinfold measurements and a comprehensive questionnaire for both children and parents as core measurements. All centres were encouraged to assess additional health parameters such as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans for …

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