U.S. kids don't make the grade on heart health

Posted at 5:11 PM, Aug 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-15 17:11:34-04

U.S. kids aren't making the grade on heart health.

91% of children are not meeting ideal cardiovascular health guidelines according to a scientific statement released by the American Heart Association.

Why aren’t children meeting these guidelines?

Analysis of a 2007- 2008 federal government survey revealed most children are not eating healthy enough. 

Many between the ages of 2 and 19 get their calories from simple carbohydrates like sugary drinks and desserts.  They’re not eating enough of the healthy foods connected to good heart heath and healthy body weight. And children were not getting enough physical exercise needed to protect their hearts.

What are the risks associated with these unhealthy choices?

More kids are gaining weight. About 10% of 2 - 5year olds were obese.  And between 19 and 27 percent of 12-19 year olds were as well. Obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents over the last 30 years according to the CDC. 

Childhood obesity has immediate and long-term effects on a child’s health and well-being. It’s very hard to turn back the clock so it’s important for parents to lead by example and live a healthy lifestyle all year round.

What are your prescriptions?

Partha’s RX for healthy children
1.Include fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and fish in your diet. These foods are strongly associated with good heart health and a healthy body weight.

2. Get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. Good examples are riding bikes, jumping rope, playing hopscotch and running around a park.  

3. Maintain a healthy body weight It goes a long way in keeping a child’s heart healthy.  Talk with your doctor if you have concerns or questions about your child’s weight.

4.Don’t Smoke and Avoid Smokers - Smoking or breathing in second hand smoke is hazardous for a child’s heart and lungs. If you can smell the smoke, the chemicals are getting into your body.

How can you help your children develop healthy eating habits?
I love cooking with my children. There’s no such thing as too young. You can involve them every step of the way from choosing the recipes and grocery shopping to setting it on the table. Make sure to provide healthy options and remove any calorie-rich temptations.