Childhood obesity is a national health care crisis. More than one-third of children and teens are overweight or obese. Plus, obese children are more likely to become obese adults.
Obesity is an especially dangerous condition in youths because it can damage a young healthy heart for a lifetime. Research shows that 70 percent of obese children and teens already have at least one risk factor for heart disease — the number one killer of adult Americans.
These early risk factors for heart disease caused by obesity can include the development of high cholesterol and high blood pressure. In addition to heart disease, obesity may cause children to develop pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, strain their bones and joints, and lead to low self-esteem.
World-renowned cardiologist, Valentin Fuster, MD, PHD, Director of Mount Sinai Heart at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, has an extreme interest in striking out the epidemic of obesity and its impact on cardiovascular health, especially to protect the world's tiniest hearts in our children.
To prevent or reduce childhood obesity Mount Sinai's Dr. Fuster recommends parents:
•Lead by example with practice of a heart healthy diet and exercise.
•Start prevention early when your child is 3-5 years old.
•Educate your child about good and poor nutrition choices.
•Avoid giving children access to food with excessive fat, sugar, and salt.
•Introduce daily healthy food and snack options: water, fruits, and vegetables.
•Limit soft drinks and fast food consumption.
•Play with your child to encourage their physical activity.
•Ensure healthy eating habits and exercise is part of child's daily routine.
•Limit child's television watching and playing on computer.
•Encourage daily aerobic activities such as walking, bicycling,skating,and swimming.
Source: The Mount Sinai Medical Center