Heart Disease in Children?

family circusLast month a topic of discussion at the American Diabetes Association conference was children and heart disease.  Artery autopsies done on children who had fatal accidents showed the presence of fatty streaks.

Although I had knowledge of this phenomenon it still came as a shock to fathom children having fatty streaks and blockages in the arteries.  Isn’t that only supposed to happen to older adults?

I hear from parents – “they only wants pizza, burgers and fries.”  Who’s controlling the food?  When I was growing up I ate what was served without too many questions.  If I did not like a particular item served I was encouraged to have a few “no thank you” bites.  I know things have changed but I have to wonder if the current philosophy of feeding our youth needs an adjustment.

This week’s LA times article “A Sticking Issue with Kids” discusses the Center for Disease Control report which showed that cholesterol abnormalities – i.e. high bad cholesterol and low good cholesterol values – are far more common in children than in past times, particularly overweight children.  The article questioned whether we should start checking children’s cholesterol panels.  Pediatrician’s views are mixed.

Where does the solution start?  Will pediatricians start prescribing statin drugs for children to fix the problem of unbalanced eating and inactivity like we do in adults?

When do we start looking at the cause rather than the symptom?  Taking control of our youth’s health and happiness is having time for family dinners, cooking at home, and making meals from whole unprocessed foods.  Our bodies are happy to get rid of bad cholesterol and avoid making plaque when we feed them “clean’ foods in their natural forms.  Running around on the weekend with our kids and engaging them in outdoor activities is essential to keeping their little arteries supple and healthy.

It’s not too late to start now.  Even if your child is overweight and has high cholesterol studies show a turnaround is possible in as little as 2 weeks.  The body responds quickly to dietary changes.  Act now and start those “no thank you” bites of healthy foods.