19 Mar Healthy Diet and Physical Activity Vital For Cardiovascular Health of Kids
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Donald M Lloyd-Jones, MD/ScM
Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine
Director, Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS) Eileen M. Foell Professor
Professor in Preventive Medicine-Epidemiology and Medicine-Cardiology
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Lloyd-Jones: Previous studies have examined the associations of cardiovascular health, as defined by the American Heart Association, with outcomes in younger and middle-aged adults. Prior studies have also examined the status (i.e., prevalence) of cardiovascular health in adults across the age spectrum, and in adolescents ages 12-19 years. However, no study to date has examined the status of cardiovascular health in children under 12 years of age, so we sought to define it in detail using nationally-representative data.
Overall, although we have inadequate surveillance systems to monitor cardiovascular health optimally in our youngest children, this study shows that there are concerning signals that they are losing the intrinsic cardiovascular health they are born with, even well before age 12 years. The implications for loss of cardiovascular health before adulthood have been well established, with earlier onset of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other diseases, earlier mortality, lower quality of life and many other adverse consequences.
MedicalResearch: What should patients and clinicians take away from this report?
Dr. Lloyd-Jones: It seems to me that the takeaway for parents, patients, clinicians, and for our society as a whole, is that we must make every effort to preserve cardiovascular health by establishing healthy habits in our kids right from the start. This includes providing access and encouraging eating a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, with lean proteins and limited processed foods and starches. It also means making sure children establish a pattern of physical activity. Together, these two areas of behavior can mean that children avoid unhealthy weight gain and the attendant changes in blood pressure, blood lipids and blood sugar that follow.
MedicalResearch: What future research do you recommend as a result of this work?
Dr. Lloyd-Jones: Future work should focus on improving surveillance of cardiovascular health beginning at the youngest ages, especially for vulnerable populations.
Ning H, Labarthe DR, Shay CM, et al. Status of Cardiovascular Health in US Children Up to 11 Years of Age – The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2003–2010. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Published online March 17 2015
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Donald M Lloyd-Jones, MD/ScM (2015). Healthy Diet and Physical Activity Vital For Cardiovascular Health of Kids