According to the American Heart Association (AHA), American children are not showing the best results in heart function and do not meet the healthiest standards due to changing diets.
In the statement, the organization analyzed data from 2007 to 2008 and found that more than 90 percent of children between 2 and 19 years old had unhealthy diets. Children’s intake showed most calories came from unhealthy food, like simple carbohydrates. These sorts of food had a negative effect on children’s cardiovascular health. A joint action among parents is to introduce ’empty’ foods (in micronutrients) to provide calories simply to their children when they reject healthy foods.
This is contributing to those diets where the caloric intake of infants and teens is coming from unhealthy foods like sugary drinks, processed food among other fast foods without a proper amount of vitamins. The obesity rate in the 2 to 5 years old age group is 10 percent. In older children, (12 to 19 years old age group) the obesity rate is between 19 and 27 percent, a quite high index considering the age of the affected.
Poor nutrition and lack of exercise are the responsible
High-calorie and low-nutrition foods are filling fridges and lunch boxes nationwide. This poor nourishment habit is one of the primary reasons for American children not having ideal cardiovascular health, according to Dr. Julia Steinberger, a physician of the AHA. To most health professionals, the low intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and other high-nutrition foods is affecting the heart health and the body weight of children across the United States.
The data analyzed also revealed that actual exercise performed by children is not enough to help them have an ideal cardiovascular health. AHA recommends about 60 minutes of physical activity every day for kids. Nonetheless, the organization found out only 50 percent of boys among the 6 to 11 years old age group is fulfilling this recommendation. In girls, the results were even lower with only one out of three girls getting the recommended 60 minutes of workout per day. Teenagers seemed to be the less active group as only 10 percent of boys and 5 percent of girls between 16 and 19 years old are properly exercising.
These dietary recommendations start in childhood, with breastfeeding as the ideal nutrition since the moment the infant is born to ideally, 12 months of age. This diet allows the baby to fulfill his or her micronutrient’ needs adequately.
Juice is recommended only in limited amounts and should not be given to children under six months of age. A relevant recommendation to parents is not to force the children to finish their meals if they are not hungry. Overfeeding infants can cause irregularities in their caloric index and, in the worst scenario, is the cause of child obesity.
In older children and to the family altogether, AHA recommends eating foods that are low in saturated fat, sodium and added sugars, as well as including foods with high amounts of protein and nutrients. Fish is a recommended food, as well as vegetables and fruits in its natural presentation, not in juice.
Calorie intake may vary from kid to kid, but overall AHA considers scientifically adequate the following data: In children under one year, the ideal calorie per day intake is 900, with 30 percent fat and 1 cup of fruits every day. In kids aged 2 to 3, calories should be 1,000 per day with 30 to 35 percent fat. Children between 4 and eight years old may consume between 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day, depending on the gender, with a reduced fat intake, about 25 percent. If the kid is between 9 and 13 years old, the ideal calorie intake is between 1,600 and 1,800 daily.
The perfect time to take care of the heart
Even when the data showed that most children, even those with bad diets, had excellent blood pressure, their cholesterol and blood sugar levels were not as ideal as the blood pressure. Physicians consider that childhood is the perfect time to approach heart conditions and control cardiovascular health to avoid problems later. Most children are born with healthy hearts and ideal cardiovascular performance, so the effort should be made to keep it that way instead of having to treat insufficiencies later.
Congenital heart defects (CHD) affect about 1 percent of births per year in the U.S, according to the Statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 25 percent of that index have a critical CDH in need of surgery and other procedures since the beginning of their lives.
Due to the medical technology and healthier habits even children with CHD are having healthier lives and are living longer than ever. Only in these cases of congenital diseases should be needed medical care and specialized cardiovascular treatments, in children born with healthy hearts, habits, and dietary standards are enough to keep ideal cardiovascular health.
Source: Web MD