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The Life and Health for Young Children with Congenital Heart Defects

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When we live a sedentary lifestyle, that is, a lifestyle without a lot of physical activity, it is known that we are at a higher risk of developing certain health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It has been shown that older children and adults who have simple or complex congenital heart defects (CHD) are more likely to have hypoactive lifestyles, but this relationship has been less studied in younger children.   The goal of this study is to find the relationship between motor skill capability and CHD diagnosis in young children. It is known that if children have an inactive childhood, or have delayed motor skills, they are 3 times more likely to have a sedentary lifestyle later on. We can, therefore, use motor skill measurements in young children as a predictor of physical inactivity in later life. To do this, children across a spectrum of CHD diagnoses between the ages of 1-3 years are recruited from the cardiology clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). The participants will come to CHEO 4 times over 2 years for a motor skill assessment. They will take home a pedometer to track their physical activity for one week after each visit, and that information will be compared to their motor skill scores and their CHD diagnosis. If a pattern is found between the two, this will allow us to identify children at risk of developing hypoactive lifestyles so that it can be prevented.

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