Monday, March 4, 2013

Healthy Habits Mean Heart Healthy Kids

It seems pretty common sense, teaching children heart-healthy habits now can help protect them from heart disease when they're adults. But even as we know this to be true, it can be harder said than done. But a newly released publication from the American Academy of Family Physicians is outlining how to pass on healthy heart habits to your kids. Whether it's eating healthy, exercising, taking arginine for blood pressure, or reducing stress throughout your lifetime, it's important to pass these habits along to your children.

"The process of atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries and is known to cause heart attacks, strokes and sudden death, has been shown to begin in early childhood," Dr. Zachary Stone, a primary-care doctor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a university news release. "It's important to concentrate on healthy lifestyles in children to prevent adult cardiovascular disease."

According to, the three heart-health areas to watch in children are diet, physical activity levels and exposure to secondhand smoke. In reality, these are areas to watch out for at any age, but are particularly influential areas for children.

As the parent, you are responsible for the child's evolvement in eating and exercising, and ultimately responsible for their enjoyment or disgust of certain foods and activities. It is your responsibility to make sure your child's diet is low in saturated fats and high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

As the parent, it is also your responsibility to limit TV time and increase outdoor time, where a child should be running around and playing as exercise.

Lastly, secondhand smoke is definitely your responsibility. Whether you, your partner, or someone in the family smokes, you must keep your child clear of that secondhand smoke.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the CDC, and you can change that number for future generations. With arginine for blood pressure, dedication to healthy habits and responsibility you can change the future.

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