Keeping Kids Heart-Healthy

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

A recent study from University of Michigan found that babies born with severe heart defects are much less likely to die before leaving the hospital if they are treated at the centers that treat the largest numbers of these patients.

And another report from the University of Florida found that some stimulant medications used to treat children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be landing more kids in the ER due to cardiac symptoms.

Heart health is paramount for children, and here are some tips from the American Heart Association (AHA) that medical professionals can pass onto their patients to keep kids heart healthy.

  • Monkey see, monkey do: Advise parents to help their children develop good physical activity habits at an early age by setting a good example themselves.
  • Too much of a good thing: Suggest that parents limit their children’s television, movies, videos and computer games to less than two hours a day to help to increase physical activity.
  • Make exercise a family affair: Encourage family outings and vacations that involve vigorous activities such as hiking, bicycling, skiing, swimming, etc.
  • Don’t be lazy: Suggest walking or riding bikes to nearby destinations whenever possible as well as using stairs instead of elevators and escalators when at shopping malls.
  • Playtime first: Discourage homework immediately after school to let children find some diversion from the structure of the school day. Kids should be active after school and before dinner.
  • No more boring sweaters for birthday gifts: Recommend that parents choose fitness-oriented gifts — a jump rope, mini-trampoline, tennis racket, baseball bat, a youth membership at the local YMCA or YWCA.

    Click here for a complete list of tips from the AHA.

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