More Physical Activity is Related to Less Respiratory Infections in Children

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Scientists have found that higher levels of physical activity measured by steps taken per day and hours spent playing sports reduced young children’s susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs.)

A secondary finding of note was that the study also took into account whether the house had smokers, pet hair, which vaccines the children had received, whether they had siblings, and what their sleep patterns were like, none of which had any association with susceptibility to URTIs in either direction.

We’ve all heard from our parents or grandparents about how much they played outside compared to the young ones today. Indeed they often make it seem like the doors to their house were locked between the end of school and dinner time.

Scientists from Poland wanted to see what kinds of exposure and activities reduce children’s susceptibility to URTIs, and their results make our grandparents sound all the wiser.

104 Polish children aged 4-7 from Warsaw had their physical activity monitored with pedometers between the fall-winter school year of 2018 and 2019. Their parents filled out scientific questionnaires regarding various details mentioned 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 that they experienced symptoms of URTIs decreased by an average of 4.1 days.

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