Did you know that there are 2,200 deaths each day due to heart disease? February is American Heart Month and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Fortunately, it’s almost entirely preventable if good habits to prevent heart disease start at an early age.
As a peditrication for over 25 years, I have witnessed first-hand the rise in childhood obesity, which is leading to more and more dangerous illnesses for children, including the risk of heart disease. The key to solving the epidemic of obesity and heart disease afflicting the adult population resides in parents with young families making changes in life style. Pediatricians and Family Physicians have a big responsibility ahead: informing, training and advising young parents. The change must start from the very beginning.
Vow to keep your family heart healthy this February by incorporating these 3 easy tips into your family’s lifestyle:
1. Don’t smoke or use tobacco
Smoking causes your heart to work harder by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. No amount of smoking is safe and the best way to prevent your children from taking up the habit is by not smoking yourself.
2. Exercise with your kids several times a week
Exercising as a family helps control everyone’s weight. Every minute of exercise is beneficial, so find ways to stay active, no matter how long it is. Try jumping rope every day for 10 minutes!
3. Cook heart-healthy meals at home
Fill the dinner table with foods such as fruit, veggies, low-fat dairy products, beans and fish. I provide a variety of family – friendly recipes in my book The Step Up Diet.