Written By: Sara Hewston, CCLS, Starlight Children's Foundation
Every February marks American Heart Month. During Heart Month, we frequently hear advice on how individuals can reduce their chance of developing heart disease. Because studies reveal that cardiovascular disease can start as early as childhood, it is important to know behaviors that children can adopt to keep their heart healthy year-round!
Parents, caregivers, and others can utilize February’s Heart Month-focus as way to teach their kids about heart-healthy practices. By learning these healthy habits early, children are more likely to continue practicing them throughout life and decrease their risk of heart disease later in life.
Here are some ways children can maintain and support their heart health both now and as they get older:
1. Sleep Soundly
A restful night's sleep is important because it offers youngsters the energy to exercise every day, the clarity to make healthy eating choices, and the rest to concentrate in class. Most children require 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night.
Having a consistent bedtime and wake-up time each day is a beneficial practice. Additionally, creating a peaceful, dark bedroom for your child will assist them to sleep and stay asleep till morning.
2. Exercise Everyday
The heart of your child is a muscle that requires exercise to stay strong. Children should exercise for at least an hour each day to build their bones and muscles, reduce stress, and maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Working out doesn't have to take place at a gym. You can engage in a variety of activities with your children, such as playing tag, basketball, and soccer, or going on a hike.
3. Eat healthfully
Fruits and vegetables should be a part of every meal for kids. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate, in order for our children to acquire the necessary vitamins and minerals, half of their food consumption at each meal should be fruits and vegetables.
Buying fresh produce instead of processed food is the greatest approach to start introducing more fruits and veggies into your child's diet. Making nutritious options readily available for your child is also very important. Keeping cut-up fruits and vegetables for you and your child is especially beneficial!
4. Drink Sensibly
Due to its lack of calories and artificial chemicals, water is a fantastic option for maintaining a healthy heart. In order to cleanse and purify their bodies, children should drink 8 glasses of water every day because water makes up two-thirds of our body weight.
Low-fat milk is another nutritious choice. Eliminating sugary beverages including soda, juice, energy drinks, and sports drinks is the aim.