Fit Teens Become Healthy Adults, Says Study

Physical fitness and being fit in your teens can reduce the risk of heart attack later in life.

The study on being fit

The recent study also revealed that men who are fit, but obese in their teens, run a higher risk of having a heart attack than those who are unfit, but lean in their youth. The study, published in the European Heart Journal, was conducted by a research team from the Umeå University in Sweden.

The researchers analyzed data from 743 498 Swedish men who received a medical examination at the age of 18 when they were conscripted into national service during the period 1969 to 1984. The men’s fitness level was measured with a bicycle test in which the resistance was gradually increased until they were too exhausted to continue. The men were monitored for an average of 34 years until they suffered a heart attack or died, or until 1 January 2011, whichever came first.

While being physically fit at the end of your teens can reduce the risk of heart attack, fitness alone does not appear to fully compensate for the risks with being overweight or obese. In other words, having a normal weight is more important than being in good physical shape, but it is even better to be both fit and have a normal weight,” said Peter Nordström in an article printed on

From the sample, the researchers estimated that 1 222 out of 100 000 had a heart attack. Among the men who suffered the attack, 43% were of normal or lean weight during their teenage years and had average to above fitness levels.

As far as we know, this is the first real major study that explores the relationship between physical fitness in teenagers and the risk of heart attack later in life. As cardiovascular disease is such as a big public health problem and fitness training is both readily-available and affordable, these results and these types of study are important for the planning of preventative public health programs,” says Nordström.