A Younger Focus for the American Heart Association

In Dr. Fuhrman's books, he points to an emerging body of research showing that the diet of the very young is especially important in determining lifelong health, and the likelihood of getting many kinds of chronic diseaese.

It seems they must be reading some of the same studies at the American Heart Association, because they just announced a new initiative aimed at the very young. Here's how Reuters describes the decision:

Because there is now ample evidence that the process of heart disease begins at a young age, the new guidelines encourage parents and pediatricians to take a "primordial prevention" approach -- taking steps in a child's infancy to prevent heart disease risk factors from developing.

Previous dietary recommendations from AHA were not intended for children under age 2, who need a higher percentage of fat in their diet to support growth. The new guidelines, published online in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, for the first time provide guidance for the under-2 set.

By no means am I suggesting that these are stolen from the pages of Disease-Proof Your Child. (It is a happy coincidence to find so many different experts agreeing, and in any case there are plenty of differences--for instance Dr. Furhman's book is much more in-depth and includes many more dietary disease prevention techniques.) But anyone who has read Disease-Proof Your Child will recognize almost all of the new AHA pointers, which include:
-feeding breast milk exclusively for the first four to six months and continuing through the first year
-taking care not to overfeed infants
-introducing healthy foods repeatedly even if they are refused at first
-avoiding feed high-calorie, low nutrient foods
-delaying the introduction of juice, and limiting quantities

Dr. Samuel Gidding, who was instrumental in creating the new AHA guidelines, is quoted by Reuters quoting some of Dr. Fuhrman's favorite statistics, including that many toddlers eat no fruit in a typical day, and that french fries are the most commonly consumed vegetables. Like Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. Gidding also asserts that parents must model healthy eating for their children.

Hopefully America is paying attention!

The AHA also have a practical list of ten things parents can do to encourage healthy hearts in their children.

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