Joyce Knestrick, PhD, CRNP, FAANP
Most people think a heart-healthy lifestyle is something only adults need to worry about, but good heart health starts when we’re young. Parents can give their kids a head start with these simple strategies:
- Feed them a diet low in fat and cholesterol. Seven percent of kids between the ages of 10 and 15 already have hardening arteries from too much cholesterol, and that rate doubles at age 15.
- Make exercise part of your daily routine. Healthy kids as young as age nine who are inactive show an increased risk of future heart problems.
- Model good behavior. Drinking and smoking are hard on the heart, so set a good example for your kids.
- Talk about the importance of heart health. One in six kids is obese, and many don’t make the correlation between unhealthy habits now and real health problems later. Talk about why good heart health is important.
It’s never too early to focus on heart-healthy habits! We only have one heart, so teach your kids to take care of it.