Many of us think that heart health is something only adults need to worry about, but according to kidshealth.org, starting heart healthy habits early on can reduce the chance of heart disease as a child moves into adulthood.
There are several obvious habits like not smoking, healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising that can encourage our kid’s to have healthy hearts.
1) Don’t Smoke
The first, not smoking, is one that is important to not only say but to model. A child is much more inclined to do what we do rather than what we say, so if we smoke that’s the example we’re setting. We’re also exposing our children to second hand smoke, which we know can lead to other health issues. So as a parent who’s concerned about the health of your child’s heart, if you smoke, quit. I know that it’s easier said than done, but you’ll be doing not only yourself but your child a big favor if you do.
2) Eating Healthy
The second, healthy eating, is not the same as dieting. Too often today we hear children talking about being fat and being on a diet. Eating a healthy diet consists of eating heart healthy foods, limiting the intake of other foods, and eliminating foods that are known to cause weight gain. Kidshealth.org breaks it down into 3 groups: Go, Slow, and Whoa. Good foods like fruits and veggies are a GO, others such as oven baked fries, waffles & pancakes, and processed cheese spreads are a Slow (ok to eat sometimes), and things like anything fried, or canned in heavy sugar syrups, are a Whoa (should only be eaten once in a while). For more information on their Go, Slow, Whoa foods see the list on their website.
3) Keep a Healthy Weight
The third suggestion, keeping a healthy weight, is a byproduct of both the healthy eating and the exercise aspects of the healthy heart plan. As with adults, exercises that get the heart working hard are good. Things like running, swimming, biking, and dancing are all good ways to do this. The website www.philly.com recommends 60 minutes a day.
4) Cholesterol Check
Lastly, philly.com also recommends that all children get a baseline lipid panel or get their cholesterol level checked by the age of 10. And if there’s a family history of such things as high blood pressure or cholesterol, or if the child has diabetes or has (or has had) cancer it should be done sooner.
Keeping our kid’s hearts healthy is something we can do from a very young age, and instilling good health habits can keep those hearts beating for a good long time.
Written by: Sharan Kaur, FizzNiche Staff WriterSharing is Caring!