More activity, fewer URTIs in children
It probably shouldn’t come a great surprise a new study from Poland has found that greater physical activity measured by steps taken per day and hours spent playing sport reduces young children’s susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs.) The study also found that it didn’t matter whether their houses had smokers or pet hair; which vaccines the children had received; whether they had siblings; and what their sleep patterns were like.
In the study, 104 children aged 4-7 from Warsaw had their physical activities monitored with pedometers between the autumn-winter school year of 2018–2019. Their parents completed questionnaires covering the exposures listed above, as well as the perception of URTI symptoms such as coughing or a runny nose.
The authors found that as the average daily number of steps taken by children throughout the study period increased by 1,000, the number of days they experienced symptoms of URTIs dropped by an average of 4.1 days. They also found that those who joined in three or more hours of sport a week had fewer days with respiratory tract infection symptoms than those not regularly participating in sport.
The study noted that the increased prevalence of screens in households reduces the time spent in physical activity and increases the likelihood those aged 4-7, who are already at a high risk for URTIs, will suffer from infections of increased duration and severity, and more often.