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Can Heart Disease Be Prevented and Reversed?

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8 Tips to Lower Risks of Heart Disease Starting From Young

In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that cardiovascular diseases caused 29.2% of total global deaths and predicted that it would be the leading cause of death in developing countries by 2010. However, coronary heart disease can be prevented from an early age.

Heart diseases that can be found among children do not limit to those congenital ones like a hole in heart or some complex heart malformation. Acquired heart diseases such as cardiomyopathies, arrhythmias, and Kawasaki Diseases can also happen to children.

Unhealthy foods and lifestyle have brought overweight or obesity to many children around the world. Recent survey made in United Kingdom had revealed that some 440,000 British children will become overweight or obese in the next two years, and the figure will be expanded to 25% of the youngsters by 2020. Complications of obesity include hypertension, dyslipidemias, orthopaedic problems, sleep disorders and insulin resistance.

How can the overweight problem be overcome for children? Like adults, healthy balance diet and regular physical exercises are the two things that can help to tackle this problem. Nevertheless, children need adequate energy for growth and cannot simply be put on straight weight loss diets. The role of parents becomes prominent in this respect.

Based on the suggestions made by most doctors, nutritionists and dietitian, the following 8 tips may serve as guidelines for parents if they wish to prevent their children from being overweight.

Tip 1 - Take More Fiber
Encourage your children to take 2 servings each of fruits and vegetables a day, and eat high-fiber breads and cereals.

Tip 2 - Limit Sugar Intake
Provide plain water as the main thirst-quencher, and restrain the number of sweetened drinks they can take per week.

Tip 3 - Moderate Fat Intake
1 g of fat can provide 9 kcal of energy. So, limit your children's intake of foods high in fats, such as deep fried foods, fatty cuts of meat, etc. to only 1 to 2 times a week.

Tip 4 - Consume Less Carbohydrate
1 g of carbohydrate can produce 4 kcal of energy. So, do not let your children consume too much carbohydrate, such as rice and noodles that are broken down into sugars by the body.

Tip 5 - Cut Down Salt Intake
Cut down your children's salt intake: less French fries, potato chips, and foods that contain a lot of salt.

Tip 6 - Adequate Protein
Protein is very important for children for their growth and maintenance of their health. Excessive intake of protein may not be good for your children as each gram of protein can produce the same amount of energy produced by carbohydrate. Hence, you should choose lean cut of meat, fish, and chicken; and replace meat with beans and bean products a few times a week.

Tip 7 - Exercise Regularly
Study on children aged between 9 to 15 showed that the risk of cardiovascular disease, assessed with body fat and blood pressure, dropped with more exercises. You can make exercise as an integral part of life for your entire family. Activities such as cycling, jogging, should be encouraged and the durations for these activities should be at least 30 - 45 minutes. If feasible, make it five times a week. This can be supplemented by incidental exercises like walk up and down stairs instead of using lifts or escalators or stop one bus-stop earlier and walk home.

Tip 8 - Participation of Parents
Parents are the best persons to model the type of behaviours they wish to see in their children. It is important that the whole family change their eating habits and lifestyle so that the entire family eats healthily and exercise regularly. But, this means that not only the children, the parents must also sacrifice many of their favorite foods and unhealthy activities. This will require a lot of determination and patience from all members of the family.



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Heart Disease Prevention - 8 Simple Ways You Can Do Immediately