Kids and Heart Disease

It’s kind of an obvious point, but, I don’t think a lot of people realize this. Heart disease—which reeks havoc on millions of adults—starts young. According to Dr. Fuhrman the seeds of cardiovascular disease are sown way before adulthood. He talks about it in Disease-Proof Your Child:
There is considerable evidence that the lipoprotein abnormalities (high LDL and low HDL) that are linked to heart attack deaths in adulthood begin to develop in early childhood and that higher cholesterol levels eventually get “set” by early food habits.1 What we eat during our childhood affects our lifetime cholesterol levels. For many, changing the diet to a plant-based, low-saturated-fat diet in later life does not result in the favorable cholesterol levels that would have been seen if the dietary improvements were started much earlier in life.

As a result of the heart-unfriendly diet, blood vessel damage begins early. Not only does the development of coronary atherosclerosis develop in childhood, but earlier development of atherosclerosis and higher serum cholesterol levels in childhood result in a significantly higher risk of premature sudden death relatively early in life. Sometimes the effects of childhood dietary abuses can be seen relatively early, with premature death or a heart attack at a young age.
And now, it seems there is a movement to test children early on for the risks of heart disease. Karen Pallarito of HealthDay News reports:
Obesity, inactivity and cholesterol are closely linked, and data from the latest U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) finds that 17 percent of U.S. teens are overweight. Just one in four high school students packs enough physical activity into their day, and 12 percent get little or no daily exercise, reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So, measuring kids' cholesterol in a really detailed way may make sense.

"There is growing scientific evidence indicating that cholesterol levels in childhood and adolescence have an effect on the development of plaque in the arteries, which is a clear indication of cardiovascular disease risk," explained study leader Ian Janssen, an assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queens University in Ontario, Canada.
We’ve seen these types of initiatives before. A couple years ago the American Heart Association announced plans to target the very young.
1. Vikari JS, Raitakari OT, Simell O. Nutritional influences on lipids and future atherosclerosis beginning prenatally and during childhood. Curr Opin Lipidol 2002;13(1):11-18.
Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (0) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.

Remember personal info?