HKQ Kids

Raising Heart Healthy Kids

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February is more than just hearts and flowers. It’s the American Heart Association’s Heart Month. Raising awareness of a healthy lifestyle has never been more important, and this month is the perfect time to discuss Heart health.

In a world of fast-foods, convenience, video games and internet, we are surrounded by the temptation of un-healthy food choices and a sedentary lifestyle. That very combination can play a toll on our health and the health of our kids.

It has recently been found that the early stages of heart disease can begin in childhood.In a recent study, arterial blockage was found in 2% of 15-19 year old boys, and about 20% of men ages 20-34. Teenage girls fared a little better.

Even infants can benefit from heart-healthy diets. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that parents who limited their babies’ fat intake to 30-35% of daily calories, had lower cholesterol levels by age 5, had less body fat, and reduced their risk of obesity and heart disease.

Here are some proactive steps you can take to keep your kids, and your entire family, heart healthy.

  1. Get moving. Build a snowman, have a snowball fight, go sledding. When the weather improves, ride bikes, go for walks. Do it together.
  2. Limit screen time. It’s easy to get lost on the internet. And, surfing the internet or playing video games is usually connected to snacking. Whenever possible, limit overall screentime to just a few hours a day.
  3. Go grocery shopping together. Teach your kids about label-reading. Look for healthy grains, fish, nuts, and low fat dairy options.
  4. Keep healthy options on hand. Apple slices, Greek yogurt, string cheese, whole grain crackers and dried fruits are healthy alternatives.
  5. Prepare meals together. Get your kids involved.
  6. Stay current on checkups. Be your children’s advocates. Keep track of height, weight, BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol.
  7. Be a role model. Your kids will mirror your behavior.
  8. Be realistic. Start with small changes and work your way up to build a healthy lifestyle that will last a lifetime.

Stay and stay healthy! For additional safety tips go to HKQKids.org, find us on Facebook and Instagram.