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April 20, 2012 • Kids Health

Kids Show Alarming Risks Factors for Heart Disease

Cardiovascular researchers recently presented some alarming and ominous scientific findings that should be a huge wake up call for all of us, especially parents. For the report, scientists evaluated the presence of seven cardiovascular risk factors in a representative sample of 5,547 American teens between the ages of 12 and 19. The data was particularly disheartening and consistent with the unprecedented uptick in deaths from cardiovascular disease we are now seeing in young adults. According to the lead investigator, the most shocking finding was that “zero adolescents evaluated met the criteria for ideal cardiovascular health.” Among the specific data points noted were the following.

  • More than 40 percent of the girls and more than 30 percent of the boys had abnormally high blood sugar levels.
  • Diets were deplorable- not a single teen met all five criteria for healthfulness. The teen’s diets were excessive in sodium and sugary beverages, and inadequate in fruits, vegetables, fiber, and lean protein.
  • 61 percent of the girls and 47 percent of the boys did not meet ideal levels of physical activity.
  • 35 percent of the girls and 27 percent of the boys had cholesterol levels beyond the ideal range. (AHA Scientific Sessions, Orlando, FL, November 2011)

Talk regularly to your kids about the importance of healthy living and make sure they know that heart disease begins in childhood. Most importantly, make sure they have ready access to healthy foods in your home and partake in daily physical activity.