Heart smart cardiovascular school health program
Physicians know, and research has proven, that healthy eating patterns that are developed in childhood and adolescence promote the optimal childhood health, growth and intellectual development as well as prevent health problems such as obesity, eating disorders, tooth decay and anemia. And, children who learn good habits in childhood grow up to adulthood with the tools they need to prevent heart disease, stroke, cancers and immune mediated illnesses.
Heart smart cardiovascular school health programs will be more likely to help to establish these healthy eating habits as well as good exercise habits. These guidelines should be based on research, clinical review, and current practice.
In a published research study by the Department of Medicine from Louisiana State University Medical Center researchers found there was a relationship between behavior change and physiologic change achieved in a total school health promotion to reduce cardiovascular risk. Researchers instituted environmental changes such as a school lunch program with healthy food choices, reduced fat, sodium and sugar, a physical education program and cardiovascular risk factor screening.
The scientists found what might appear to be obvious – the participants in the study showed a greater improvement in their knowledge, cholesterol levels were decreased, overall run/walk performances increased and increases were noted in HDL cholesterol.
Heart smart cardiovascular school health programs play an important part in promoting lifelong healthy eating and exercise habits. Dietary habits of our citizens contribute substantially to preventable diseases and premature death. When we are able to make changes to those habits in young children we are then able to impact the health of future generations.
Today’s children eat too much saturated fats, sodium, processed foods and meat while not eating enough fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Our children are growing up at great risk for obesity than their parents, with less interest in exercise and more interest in sedentary activities such as computer gaming and television.
By encouraging a heart smart cardiovascular school health program in your area you will make a positive impact on the future lives of children. You will also make an amazing impact on the psychological health of children as they are led kicking and screaming to a platter of health food to know that people in their community care enough about their health to change the way things have always been done.
Heart smart cardiovascular school health programs also have a positive impact on undernutrition that can have a lasting effect on children’s cognitive development; on iron deficiency anemia that increases fatigue and shortens attention span; on obesity that is a growing problem among teens and causes premature deaths; on unsafe weight–loss methods that lead to poor growth and delayed development; on eating disorders that often start in adolescence; on dental caries that may be the most prevalent of all diseases; on adult illnesses such as coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis.
Preventive Medicine: The Heart Smart Cardiovascular School Health Promotion
American Journal of Health Promotion: Heart Smart School Lunch Program: A Vehicle for Cardiovascular Health Promotion
Circulation: Cardiovascular Health Promotion in the Schools
Tulane University School of Medicine: Health Ahead Heart Smart
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Guidelines for School Health Programs to Promote Lifelong Healthy Eating
American Journal of Healh Promotion: Heart Smart School Lunch Program
ScienceDirect: Heart Smart Program: A Family Intervention for Eating Behavior of Children at High Risk for Cardiovascular Disease