Unhealthy diets in childhood affect heart later

New York: Keep an eye on what your child is eating for the childhood diet will have a long-term effect on his/her health later, warns new research.

The health of the heart, which is optimal for most children at birth, may decline substantially with unhealthy childhood behaviours, said the research published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

“The better we can equip our children to make healthy choices, the more cardiovascular health will be preserved in adulthood.

“And those who preserve their heart -health into middle age live much longer and are much healthier while they live,” said senior study author Donald M. Lloyd-Jones from Northwestern University, Chicago.

The findings indicate that in general children start with good heart health and blood pressure.

“But if they have a horrible diet, it will drive a worsening body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol levels,” Lloyd-Jones said.

Researchers examined BMI, healthy diet, total cholesterol and blood pressure in children aged 2 to 11 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Surveys (NHANES) during 2003-10.

In the sample of 8,961 children that represented about 43.6 million children nationwide, the researchers found that all children had at least one ideal measure — but none had all four.

“The bottom line is that we need even better data, but what we do see is that we are losing an awful lot of our intrinsic cardiovascular health very early in life, which sets us up to be unhealthy adults,” Lloyd-Jones added.