Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Beware Of Heart Disease Even For Youngsters!

Being the number one killer in the United States, heart disease can be prevented with healthy habits for 80 percent of cases, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

A paper that was published online April 1, 2013 in AHA’s journal ‘Circulation’ revealed that more than 80 percent of the American teens will eventually develop heart disease because of their poor diets: too much fat, salt and sugar, insufficient fruits and vegetables. In addition, they do not exercise enough. Such unhealthy lifestyle is translating into obesity and overweight that will ultimately lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood glucose at these young ages.

The researchers examined the components of cardiovascular health in 4673 participants aged between 12 and 19 years from the 2005–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. The sample is demographically representative of the 33.2 million adolescents in the United States.

Participants answered questions regarding eating and exercise habits, and they underwent medical examinations too. Their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as weight and diet and exercise habits were recorded. 

Heart disease risk behaviors of participants were ranked according to how well they compiled with the 7 factors that the AHA recently defined as critical for optimal heart health. These factors are maintaining a healthy body weight; eating a healthy diet; being physically active; keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose within normal ranges; and not smoking.

Only 45 percent of boys and 50 percent of girls in the study met 5 or more of these criteria, and less than 1 percent of the teens were eating an ideal healthy diet: 4.5 or more cups a day of fruits and vegetables, 2 servings of fish a week, 3 ounces a day of whole grains, less than 1,500 mg of salt a day and no more than 450 calories worth of sugar-sweetened drinks a week.

Regarding physical activity, 44 percent of the girls and 67 percent of boys exercised an hour or more per day, with 13 percent of boys and 23 percent of girls not physically active at all. Meanwhile, 20 percent of boys and 17 percent of girls were found to have a poor body mass index (BMI).

Fortunately, it is possible to reverse the unhealthy trends by using treatments that are neither expensive nor complicated. A lifestyle change, like eating a healthy diet and becoming more active every day, can simply lead to improvements in many of the heart disease risk factors.

No comments:

Post a Comment