The month of February is known for Valentine’s Day, which is a fantastic holiday about love and your heart! And February is also American Heart Month. Heart disease is a huge concern and the leading cause of death in men and women in America. It is so important that we take care of our hearts.
Heart disease is a very personal topic for me, as I recently lost my uncle at age 56 to heart disease and cancer. He suffered from cardiomyopathy, which is deterioration of the heart muscles. He had two heart transplants before the age of 35, and his second heart lasting almost 20 years. Losing him this past summer was very hard on me and my family, and we know how devastating heart disease can be. So it is imperative that we be proactive in the fight against heart disease, especially in the youth of America.
Today, one in three kids/teens in America is overweight, and it is the number one health concern among parents (topping drug abuse and smoking). Childhood obesity can lead to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and type 2 diabetes (all of which affect the heart). So what can we do?
For kids, it is about two simple things: physical activity and proper nutrition. In an earlier blog this past year we talked about a winning formula for a healthy lifestyle for kids: 5-2-1-Almost None. Also, our Healthy Choices Healthy Children: Fitness Edition and Healthy Choices Healthy Children: Nutrition Edition are full of great information on getting kids active and having fun doing so. Check out the Materials page where you can download the flipbooks and links to other great resources to use in your youth programming.
Also, please check out the American Heart Association website, as it is a great tool for research and information on all things relating to heart disease. The number one take away is all about keeping our hearts in check and maintaining a healthy balance of exercise and nutrition.