You know heart disease is common in adults, but you’d never think children and teens are at risk. They are. And if you’re a parent, you need to know why and how to protect your kids.
Obesity is an epidemic in America. Over 30 percent of children and teenagers are overweight or obese, which can lead to predictors of heart disease like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity in adulthood.
Here are the risk factors for children:
- High-calorie and fast foods: they’re everywhere.
- Inactivity: TV, video games and computers.
- Smoking: the biggest factor for heart disease and most smokers start young.
You can change things by setting a positive example. Here are a few tips:
- Teach smart eating. Teach kids that fast food and high-calorie treats are fine occasionally.
- Limit time spent on the computer and playing video games. Encourage kids to be active outdoors. Promote team sports or activities like bicycling.
- Above all else, practice what you preach; eat right and exercise.
Children are most influenced by the adults around them. While friends, teachers and others count, you, their parents, are the single largest influence. Encouraging regular exercise and healthy food choices can help your kids grow up healthy.