Mom, Where Are My Statins?

Now, if preschool puberty didn’t scare you, what about children with clogged arteries? I realize it seems a little out of place, but Canadian researchers have determined obese children, and children with high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol, may already have fatty build-up in their arteries that could lead to heart attacks later in life. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
"Obesity puts children at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels. Children's diets have changed dramatically, influenced by television commercials and the convenience of fast foods," researcher Dr. Sanaz Piran, an internal medicine resident at McMaster University said. "Children are eating too much fatty and processed foods. Parents need to involve their kids in regular exercise activities and cut down on fatty meals, emphasizing healthy food such as vegetables."
Can you picture father and son heading off to the pharmacy to refill their cholesterol-lowering medication together? No pun intended, but that’s a hard pill to swallow. Dr. Piran makes a lot of important observations, but I really like her recommendation of a family-oriented approach to cardiovascular disease prevention. Kind of sounds Fuhrmanesque to me.

In a previous post Dr. Fuhrman explains that getting children to eat more healthfully is contingent on the parents playing by the rules too. Meaning—parents, if you want your kids to eat their broccoli, you better eat yours! More from the post:
Here is the most important: No rules only for children. If the parents are not willing to follow the rules set for the house, they should not be imposed on the children. Don’t argue about what your children should and shouldn’t be eating; discuss this in private. As parents, we must be consistent, but not perfect. Likewise, it is okay for the children to be consistent, but not prefer either. For example, if the parents decide that an unhealthy food or a restaurant meal is acceptable for the children once per week, then that goes for the adults, too. Setting an example supported by both parents is the most important and most effective way for your children to develop a healthy attitude toward food.
Now, if you have any doubts about the precursors of heart disease developing in young children, take a gander at this post. In it Dr. Fuhrman explains what we eat as children can follow us into adulthood:
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.

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.
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