Friday, January 16th, 2015
Heart disease—the number one killer of men and women in the United States—is not something to ignore, and with National Heart Month just around the corner, the latest heart health research is coming at just the right time.
According to a new study, published in Circulation, earlier this week, a positive childhood experience could actually benefit heart health later in life. The study examined the psychosocial advantages of 1,100 participants, between the ages of 3 and 18, to determine whether certain factors had an impact on their hearts as adults, like whether they were brought up in a financially secure environment and if their families fostered positive health choices and social skills at a young age.
Each individual’s cardiovascular health was then evaluated 27 years later, and the results concluded that the adults who had been exposed to the most psychosocial advantages had better heart health. Fourteen percent of the adults were more likely to be at a normal weight, 12 percent were more likely to not smoke, and 11 percent were more likely to have healthy blood sugar levels,” according to HealthyDay.
Although this study finds a correlation between a positive childhood experience and better heart health in adulthood, it does not prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Even so, the environments we’re raised in can influence our lives, so one of the keys to decreasing health disease in our country may be to provide kids with a stable and healthy childhood. And as February approaches, be on the look-out for more (and sometimes tasty!) ways to combat heart disease.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Happy Children via Shutterstock
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Monday, March 24th, 2014
A new study has found that the amount of activity a mother and her child record each day are closely related. After analyzing more than 500 moms and preschoolers, researchers in London, found youngsters are not “just naturally active” and develop healthy activity habits based on their mothers’ lifestyle. According to the study, only 53 percent of moms engage in 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at least once a week. More from Cambridge University:
An analysis of the physical activity levels of more than 500 mothers and pre-schoolers, assessed using activity monitors to produce accurate data, found that the amount of activity that a mother and her child did each day was closely related. Overall, maternal activity levels were strikingly low: only 53 percent of mothers engaged in 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at least once a week. The UK Government recommends achieving 150 minutes of at least ‘moderate intensity physical activity’ (such as brisk walking) over the week as one of the ways of achieving its physical activity guidelines.
The results of the study are published in the journal Pediatrics on 24 March 2014. The paper ‘Activity Levels in Mothers and Their Preschool Children’ suggests that, given the link between mothers and young children, policies to improve children’s health should be directed to whole families and seek to engage mothers in particular…
The study is the first to show a direct association in a large sample of mothers and children, both fitted with activity monitors at the same time. It shows that young children are not ‘just naturally active’ and that parents have an important role to play in the development of healthy activity habits early on in life. The research also provides important evidence for policy makers to inform programmes that promote physical activity in families with young children. Its findings suggest that all family members can benefit from such efforts…
Of the 554 mothers whose data was analysed in the Cambridge-led study, many were working and many of the children attended day-care facilities – factors that influenced activity levels of both mothers and children, as well as the association between the two. Other potential influences on maternal activity examined in the study included maternal education, whether the child had siblings, and whether his or her father was present at home…
The activity levels of parent and child were, for the first time, recorded over whole daytime periods for up to seven days. The resulting data allowed the researchers to plot physical activity throughout the day and over the course of an entire week to see how activities varied across the day and how weekday activity levels compared with weekend activity levels.
The data from mother and child were matched up to see if and how the activity patterns of adults and children correlated. “We saw a direct, positive association between physical activity in children and their mothers – the more activity a mother did, the more active her child. Although it is not possible to tell from this study whether active children were making their mothers run around after them, it is likely that activity in one of the pair influences activity in the other,” said Hesketh.
“For every minute of moderate-to-vigorous activity a mother engaged in, her child was more likely to engage in 10 percent more of the same level of activity. If a mother was one hour less sedentary per day, her child may have spent 10 minutes less sedentary per day. Such small minute-by-minute differences may therefore represent a non-trivial amount of activity over the course of a week, month and year.”…
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Image: African American family, man, woman, boy child, mother, father, son playing baseball together outside via ShutterStock
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