Get Your Kids to Embrace Heart Healthy Habits
Decades ago, diseases like hypertension and heart disease typically developed during middle age. Typically, treatment and prevention tactics would be recommended well into adulthood, to intercept the disease process. Currently we are dealing with an epidemic of childhood obesity, and current lifestyle habits can fuel early heart disease and hypertension. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute we need to start preventing risks for these diseases in early childhood. Parents, start your (healthy habit) engines!!
Step One: Early Screening
New recommendations from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute include cholesterol screening between nine and eleven years of age. If there is a strong family history of heart disease (one close relative with heart disease), then screening cholesterol levels should possibly start as early as age 2. If risk factors are identified early, then prevention strategies can be started at a young age to intercept disease. Since heart disease is the number one killer of men and women, and it is now being diagnosed in younger individuals, it’s crucial to adopt diet and exercise habits that limit risk during childhood.
Step Two: Understand risk
As soon as a child develops obesity, their risk of heart disease (and other diseases) escalates. If you look at statistics, one percent of children are born with a heart defect. Eighteen percent of kids are overweight, and twenty one percent of teens are clinically obese. It’s clear to researchers and health experts that we need to engage in preventive cardiology so we limit heart disease in kids and teens.
Step three: There’s no magic pill, just sensible habits
Parents need to lead the way by modeling healthy behaviors. Establishing a healthy diet at home, involving the kids in nutrition discussions, and seeking moments of physical activity throughout the day are basic cornerstones of a healthy family lifestyle. Since parents do the food shopping, plan menus, select the restaurants, and have control over kids’ leisure time, the responsibility lies squarely on parents to instill a commitment to a healthy lifestyle in their kids. Parents also need to limit screen time, and encourage kids to love a sport or find a fitness passion. Accomplishing this early on, lays the groundwork for lifelong healthy habits.
Step 4: Encourage other healthy habits
Adequate sleep and reducing stress are other important habits that help to limit risk of lifestyle-related disease. Parents should learn the basics of sleep toiletry since they control how much sleep kids get. The basics include turning off tech devices well before bedtime, keeping kids more tranquil so their bodies can prepare for sleep, keeping temperatures in the bedrooms cool, and limiting eating before bedtime. Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help kids and frankly the whole family to limit stress and enjoy deep, refreshing sleep.
A healthy lifestyle starts in the home.