19 March 2015
A new study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, has found that decline of heart health can start in childhood. Although most people are at their optimal heart health when born, researchers found that unhealthy childhood behaviours can have a significant, detrimental impact.
Dr Donald Lloyd-Jones, senior author of the study and professor and chair of preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, said the findings suggest that children start with pretty good blood pressure. However, a bad diet can "drive a worsening body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol levels".
Looking at the data of nearly 9,000 children, the researchers examined BMI, healthy diet, total cholesterol and blood pressure, which can be linked to heart health, in children between two and 11 years old. All of the children had at least one ideal measure, but none had all four.
The study found that having an ideal diet was the least common indicator, with less than one per cent having four or five of the healthy diet components.
"The better we can equip our children to make healthy choices, the more cardiovascular health will be preserved into adulthood. And those who preserve their heart health into middle age live much longer and are much healthier while they live," said Dr Lloyd-Jones.
Posted by Edward Bartel
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