Yes, Valentine’s is approaching … paper hearts, roses, cards, candy, nice dinners, flashy bling and all. But it’s also American Heart Month. So, this month, we are going to focus on heart health. Why? Because, fun and games aside, Cupid can’t do anything for your physical well-being. Awareness, on the other hand, can literally save lives!
Heart disease can happen to anyone — even children. According to data from the CDC, approximately 1% (40,000) of babies born each year have a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD). And 25% of these are critical. Others surface, during childhood or teen years. Some of the most common heart conditions in children are listed as either “congenital” (present from birth) or “acquired” (developed after birth). Some of these conditions are hereditary. And they require special healthcare needs.
If your child was born healthy, you want that good health to continue into adulthood. The best way to achieve that is by teaching healthy habits, now. Here are some great tips for starting:
- Introduce your child to healthy eating, i.e. set mealtimes, limit snacking, keep junk food out of the house, eat family dinners, and shop/cook with your kids.
- Encourage fun physical activity.
- Teach the dangers of smoking & vaping, early.
- Teach them how to manage their stress.
- Schedule regular medical exams for your child with his/her pediatrician.
Last but not least, remember that lifestyle risk factors can have a negative impact on the health of your child/teen and you, i.e. obesity, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, smoking, vaping, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. There is a direct relationship between these risks and developing heart disease. Medical research has the statistics to prove it. And there is no better role-model than you. So, teach them well!
*Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash