We’ve been looking at specific things for the heart health of men and women, but that’s not to say that kids shouldn’t have any concerns about the well-being of their hearts. Or rather, that we as adults should forget that their physical hearts require tending as much as their emotional ones.
The American Heart Association says that childhood obesity is the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking. That’s because about one of three American kids and teens are overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. Obesity is causing a broad range of health problems in kids that previously weren’t seen until adulthood like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. There are also the psychological effects of low self-esteem, negative body image and depression.
The AHA is working on several fronts to make a change in this pattern. In general, they’ve developed strategies to improve the social and physical environment for healthy eating and physical activity in children.
Their children’s health initiatives include:
Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which along with the William J. Clinton Foundation aims to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child’s health: homes, schools, restaurants, doctors' offices and communities.
Elementary school students can raise funds and awareness with Jump Rope For Heart. Middle schoolers learn and raise money with Hoops For Heart. The NFL PLAY 60 Challenge hopes to inspire middle school students to be more physically active, and Be the Beat trains the next generation of lifesavers to improve outcomes from sudden cardiac arrest on their interactive website.
We’ll be looking at what you can do in your homes to take care of your kids’ hearts.