Heart Health Newsletter

Heart Health

Did you know? Did you know that the human heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day? The heart is one of the most important organs in our body, so it is essential that we take good care of it by minimizing factors that contribute to heart disease.

Statistics: One out of twenty people, over the age of 20, have Coronary Artery Disease. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in the American population. While children are at a much lower risk for heart complications than adults, it is necessary to know healthy habits early to prevent future disease and complications. 

Risk Factors: Several factors contribute to the development of heart disease. Some risk factors are unable to change and are out of our control such as race, genetics, and birth complications. Other risk factors, that can be reduced by healthy habits include obesity, being overweight, physical inactivity, and poor dietary intake.

How to decrease risk for Heart Disease: Let’s focus on what we can control or modify. The following include some tips to help keep your heart healthy:

  • Exercise: The American Heart Association suggests a minimum of 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week. This may sound like a lot, but simply walking for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week will add up to 150 minutes.

Walking is only one way of giving your heart a workout. Other ideas include jumping rope, playing organized sports, swimming, lifting weights, and dancing. 

  • Healthy Food: Eating healthily is one of the most important ways to help your heart, but what does healthy eating mean? A resource to help understand healthy eating includes the free online website at Myplate.org. Additionally, the American Heart Association helps explain what healthy eating entails by providing the following guidance
  • Include: Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, fish (preferably oily fish with omega-3 fatty acids), skinless poultry and lean animal proteins, and plant-based proteins.
  • Limit: Sweetened drinks, salty foods, saturated fats and dietary cholesterol, fatty or processed red meats (if you choose to eat meat, select leaner cuts of meat), refined carbohydrates like added sugars and processed grain foods, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil.
  • Avoid: Fried foods and trans fat.

While some factors that contribute to heart disease are unavoidable, you can help your child keep their heart healthy for life with good nutrition and exercise. If you have any specific questions, please ask a nurse. We are happy to help with any health needs, so you can help your child be their healthiest self!

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