‘Heart-health’ damage may start during childhood

Damage to the heart through lifestyle factors can start as early as childhood, according to a US study.1

The research, which was carried out by three American universities, examined four key risk factors for heart disease in adults, including obesity, poor diet, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, in a group of nearly 9,000 children.

The study found that less than 1% of the group who were aged between 2 and 11 ate a healthy diet, with nearly a third of the children being overweight or obese. They also found that 4 in 5 of the children did not meet more than one of the key elements of an ideal diet, which are four or five portions of fruit and veg a day, fish twice a week, low salt, low added sugar in drinks and regular wholegrains.

While this study solely focused on children, it certainly highlights the need for greater education and heart-health promotion from both the government and the medical industry. This is especially important as heart disease is still the developed world’s single biggest killer.

Reference

1 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

Headlines

Damage to the heart can start before the age of 12 if young people have a poor diet. Mail Online, March 18 2015