Raising awareness for kids heart health
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – February is American Heart Month which is also a good reminder for parents to check their child’s cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Dr. Jessica Haley, Pediatric Cardiologist, Rady Children’s notes that pediatricians should start monitoring kids’ blood pressure during routine visits starting at 3 years old. Cholesterol testing comes into play a bit later in childhood, between 9 and 11.
Rady Children’s says parents can help prevent high blood pressure or cholesterol or reduce levels in the following ways:
• Enforce a heart-healthy diet, which includes lots of fruits and veggies and limits fried foods, sugary beverages and processed foods.
• Discuss the risk of smoking with kids, and avoid smoking around children. First- and secondhand smoke exposure is a key contributor to cardiovascular illness.
• Keep kids active, and aim for at least an hour of moderate physical activity each day for kids 5 and up. Limiting screen time can also help avoid a sedentary lifestyle.