Many health professionals including doctors and nutritionist have worked hard to bring awareness about how to help children, build strong and healthy hearts. Let this be the year that you will be proactive and finally make it a priority.

 

Below are 5 tips to get you started:

 

1

Get regular checkups and sports physicals

No parent wants to lose their child to undetected cardiovascular disease. There are ways to prevent having to suffer that devastation. First, be on the lookout for common red flags like chest pain, shortness of breath, elevated blood pressure, unexplained fainting, and a family history of heart disease.   It’s imperative that you work together with your child’s physician. Tell them about any concerns you might have. It could save your child’s life.

 

2

Promote a heart-healthy diet

Just like adults, children can succumb to bad eating habits. When they don’t eat healthy foods in the recommended portion size, they could potentially develop elevated cholesterol levels. Elevated levels are one of the many known risk factors for heart disease. What parents can do is learn how to read nutrition labels on the back of packages. Know what your children are eating and drinking.

 

3

Encourage exercise

Make it a family affair. Go outside and play a game of basketball, go for a run or walk around the neighborhood, try trail hiking, play tag with the younger kids. It doesn’t matter what you do if your moving and getting your heart rate up. If you’re stuck indoors because of the weather, there are plenty of indoor activities to choose from. Grab a Jump rope or find an exercise video online and do it together, turn some music on and dance until you can’t dance anymore, or try yoga. Anything that gets your kids moving is great for everyone.

 

4

Have important conversations

We should all know by now smoking is bad for you, but don’t assume your preteens and teens know that. Tell them what smoking does to the body, especially the heart, and ask and answer questions they might have. Learn where your child is on the matter. Encourage them to be open and honest about their feelings and share facts with them. Lead by example.

 

5

Don’t forget to let your kids know how much you love and appreciate them

Daily reminders give your child a sense of security and lets them know that your heart does matter. Always a good time to tell them what’s in your heart and encourage them to be the best they can be and to make conscious decisions to make decisions that are heart-healthy.

 

Latest posts by Nercy Radcliffe, CEO, Providence Healthcare Services (see all)