Throughout every stage of life, heart health remains a common topic of discussion. And there’s a good reason for it! After all, it is the leading cause of death among both men and women.
While the thought of the conversation may begin to feel routine, your approach to ensuring a heart-healthy future for your kiddos doesn’t have to be. By incorporating the tips below into your child’s daily life, you can make heart health fun and educational.
Avoid sweets, soda, and snacks stacked with artificial sugar.
- Sweet treats, sodas, and snacks oftentimes sneak in an excess amount of sugar, frequently pushing a child’s daily intake far beyond the recommended amount of six teaspoons or 25 grams.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages two and older follow a heart-healthy diet, including low-fat dairy products. As for children under the age of two, it is recommended that a similar diet be adopted if there is a family history of obesity, abnormal blood fats or cardiovascular disease.
Plan family exercise activities, such as hiking.
- Over the years, studies have continuously shown a positive relationship between physical activity and good heart health. The American Heart Association recommends that people under the age of 20 years get a minimum of 60 minutes of activity every day. By finding activities that can be done as a family, such as hiking, bike riding, or swimming, you can enjoy health benefits and quality time all at once.
Teach your child the dangers of tobacco.
- Take the initiative and inform your child of the dangers of tobacco and nicotine products from an early age. It is important to cover electronic cigarettes, also known as vapes, with your child as well as the products that have recently been found guilty of targeting children with ads. In addition to the negative effects the products have on a user’s heart, smoking can also lead to difficulty breathing, coughing, yellow teeth, and bad breath.
Swap screen time for sports or other physical activities.
- While there is not a one-size-fits-all approach on-screen time usage, there is sufficient research that suggests excessive screen time can lead to obesity, loss of social skills, and irregular sleep schedules. It is necessary to establish boundaries around a child’s screen time in order to allow time for sports or for any physical activity. Finding opportunities for activity is crucial to securing healthy habits and a healthy heart in the long term.
Cook with your kiddo and allow them to experiment with new and nutritious foods.
- When done with caution, allowing your child to lend a helping hand in the kitchen can be an excellent way to instill an interest in trying and making healthy dishes. If you’re wary of inviting your kiddo to the chopping board, consider including them during your grocery store visits and showing them how to spot nutritious picks.
Urgent Care for Children wants to remind you to see your primary pediatrician for your well-child visits. And for all of your after-hours needs, our doors are open all 365 days of the year.