Congenital heart disease (CHD) affects nearly 1% of births. As survival rates have dramatically improved, the majority of individuals with CHD now live into adulthood. As these patients age, they become prone to a large range of complications, such as chronic heart failure and acquired cardiovascular disease. Promotion of a healthy and active lifestyle from childhood onwards has been suggested as a sustainable and effective strategy to enhance cardiovascular health, improve quality of life and reduce immediate and long-term risk in people with CHD. Well-established physical activity consensus statements for youth with CHD have now been published. In this article, we review how increasing physical activity in youth with CHD may offer immediate and long-term cardiovascular benefits, what is known about physical activity in children with CHD, describe the unique factors that contribute to achieving sufficient and insufficient physical activity levels and summarize the evidence of trials on physical activity promotion in youth with CHD. Furthermore, we discuss some of the challenges that need to be addressed by further research regarding the optimal strategy, timing and format of physical activity intervention programmes in children and adolescents with CHD. IMPACT: Congenital heart disease (CHD) affects nearly 1% of births, with the majority of individuals with CHD now living into adulthood due to improved survival. As CHD patients age, they become prone to a large range of cardiovascular complications.This article discusses how and why increasing physical activity in youth with CHD may offer immediate and long-term cardiovascular benefits, the barriers to achieving sufficient physical activity levels and the evidence from trials on physical activity promotion in youth with CHD.The optimal strategy, timing and format of physical activity intervention programmes in children and adolescents with CHD are discussed.

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