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CMHC PULSE

Cardio Metabolic Health Congress – Official Blog

Less Screen Time, More Sports: Childhood Obesity & Cardiovascular Disease

A host of studies have confirmed the correlation between childhood obesity and adult cardiovascular disease, illustrating the consequences of obesity during childhood.

Because obese and overweight children are more likely to become obese adults than those who were not obese as children, they face an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as CVD, type II diabetes, and certain cancers. Accelerated BMI (body mass index) in children puts children at the highest risk for cardiovascular disease in adulthood.

Therefore, it is critical to trace the growth of children in order to detect and prevent elevated and accelerated BMI gains during early development periods. There are pragmatic measures that parents can take to ensure that their children prevent the onset of heart disease, and lessen risk factors. Identifying opportunities to promote physical activity and a healthy diet will potentially limit the development of risk factors associated with CVD in adults, namely hypertension, high cholesterol, hyperglycemia, and being overweight or obese.

The strong correlation between obesity and CVD indicates a need for early intervention; early life is the most significant target time to address prevention and treatment of obesity. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “It is never too early for the family to make changes that will help a child keep or obtain a healthy weight.” Both parents and physicians must encourage children to maintain a healthy weight, in addition to promoting educational materials that illustrate potential risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Current recommendations include reducing screen time—during which children are generally physically inactive—and increasing participation in extracurricular athletics and sports. The CDC has confirmed that sources such as families, schools, communities, and the media are all highly influential in the success of the aforementioned initiatives.

Parents must model healthy behaviors for children, spurring even small changes like healthier snacks in the home, adjusting bedtime to allow for at least 9 hours of sleep per night, and ensuring at least an hour of physical activity each day.

Take Care of your Ticker – American Heart Month

Knowing the Signs of Heart Disease:

Heart disease is the primary killer of both men and women in the United States. Statistics indicate that every 80 seconds, a woman dies from either cardiovascular disease, or a stroke—yet the American Heart Association reports that 80% of all heart-related maladies can be prevented by the implementation of healthy lifestyle changes and education.

In light of American Heart Month, it is timely and prudent to understand the context and background of heart dis
ease, coupled with the risks—and ways to prevent it. Heart disease occurs when there is a negative change in the heart’s structure or function, ofteninvolving blood vessels that are narrow or blocked. Examples include stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia, high bloodpressure, and coronary artery disease.

While there are certain risk factors linked to heart disease that are uncontrollable—like age, gender, race, and hereditary genetics—several modifiable lifestyle choices can influent heart health. Primary risks include smoking, which can increase the risk of heart attack by 70%, and poor diet and nutrition. The latter increases the likelihood of high cholesterol and atherosclerosis, both of which contribute to heart disease. Stress and lack of exercise also exacerbate the risk of blood clots, high blood pressure, and stroke. Physical activity strongly correlates to healthy blood flow, which improves overall heart health.

Several symptoms of poor heart health include fatigue, congestion or coughing, chest pain and pressure, leg or ankle swelling, and pain in the jaw and limbs. Successfully managing heart health entails staying aware of these warning signs, and engaging in an active, healthy lifestyle to promote overall wellness.