"It is believed that BMI, sedentary behaviors and low cardiovascular fitness levels are linked to diabetes, heart disease and stroke but our findings suggest muscle strength possibly may play an equally important role in cardio metabolic health in children," said Mark D Peterson, an assistant professor at University of Michigan Medical School.

Researchers analyzed health data for more than 1,400 children between the age group of 10 to 12, including their percent body fat, glucose level, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglycerides.

Those with greater strength to body mass ratios or pound for pound strength capacities had significantly lower risks of heart disease and diabetes.

Researchers also measured cardio respiratory fitness how well the body is able to transport oxygen to muscles during prolonged exercise, and how well muscles are able to absorb and use it.

This is the first study, which revealed that a robust link between strength capacity and a lower chance of having diabetes, heart disease or stroke in adolescents.

"The stronger you are relative to your body mass, the healthier you are," Peterson said.

Exercise and even recreational activity that supports early muscular strength acquisition should complement traditional weight loss interventions among children and teenagers in order to reduce risks of serious diseases throughout adolescence, the researchers mentioned.

Previous studies have found low muscular strength in teenagers is a risk factor for several major causes of death in young adulthood, such as suicide and cardiovascular diseases, stated the research published in the journal Pediatrics.


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