Unhealthy diets affect American children's heart health

by Jared Lewis August 15, 2016, 0:11
Unhealthy diets affect American children's heart health

The American Heart Association considers seven factors for determining if a child's cardiovascular health is ideal: they perform at least an hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity; they maintain a healthy body weight, less than the 85th percentile of BMI; they have a healthy diet for four out of five components; they avoid tobacco products, not even trying a cigarette once; and they have healthy glucose (less than 100 mg/dL fasting), cholesterol (less than 170 mg/dL), and blood pressure (less than 90th percentile).

Data from a 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that children in the United States were not meeting most of the American Heart Association's definition of ideal cardiovascular health. Numerous children involved in the survey between the ages of 2 and 19 years, had a high consumption of sugar in their daily diets mainly from simple carbohydrates, sugar drinks and sugary desserts. Rather than taking a haphazard, wait-and-see approach, parents can control the customary dietary offerings in the home from an early age, teaching kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, fish and whole grains that promote a sound weight range and a strong heart.

Only half of boys and 1/3 of girls met the exercise standard of 60 minutes a day, and about 1/4 of teens were obese.

Babies are generally born with healthy hearts that should be cared for during childhood to ensure good health later in life, according to the American Heart Association.

The rate of engagement in physical activity is low among those in the 16-and-19-year-old age bracket with only 10 percent of the boys and 5 percent of the girls doing the recommended amount of physical activity everyday.

According to the AHA, only 1% of children in the U.S. meets their definition of ideal childhood cardiovascular health.

Many children's heart health not up to standards was posted in Health of TheNews International - https://www.thenews.com.pk on August 12, 2016 and was last updated on August 12, 2016.

Unhealthy behaviors continued to rise in prevalence as children got older, with only 50% to 60% of adolescents reporting an ideal BMI, while 19% to 27% report "poor BMI" (≥95th percentile). They found that most children involved in the study, at 91 percent, had a poor diet. Kids are born with ideal health. Also having a healthy weight in relation to height (BMI - body mass index), not smoking and getting enough physical activity.

Not surprisingly, these behaviors had a great impact on the cardiovascular health markers.

The statement comes from Julia Steinberger, M.D., M.S., Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and other experts who published their opinion in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

In older children and to the family altogether, AHA recommends eating foods that are low in saturated fat, sodium and added sugars, as well as including foods with high amounts of protein and nutrients. One-third of the children in this age group also tried using a cigarette. If dealt with early, it can eliminate poor health in later life. However, almost all the children had ideal blood pressure and most had ideal cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

"We thought there needed to be much more detail and refinement of those metrics", she said.

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