Many American children fall short on heart health, according to new findings. The researchers analyzed data from 2007-2008 from federal government surveys and found that nearly 91 percent of children did not have healthy diets. Children aged two to 19 got majority of their calories from simple carbohydrates such as sugary beverages and desserts.
Author Dr. Julia Steinberger said, “A primary reason for so few children having ideal cardiovascular health is poor nutrition. Children are eating high-calorie, low-nutrition foods and not eating enough healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, fish, and other foods strongly associated with good heart health and a healthy body weight.”
Physical activity, or lack thereof, is another growing concern. Among kids aged six to 11, only half of boys and one-third of girls had at least an hour of physical activity a day. The older the children were, the less physical activity they got. In the age bracket of 16 to 19, only 10 percent of boys and five percent of girls met their daily exercise recommendations.
Overweight and obesity rates are on the rise, too. The researchers found that although the children had ideal blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels could be improved.
The findings recommend early intervention in the form of heart health education as a way to stop the growing problem and to ensure these children don’t grow up to be unhealthy adults.
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article: Concussion rates double among U.S. children.