Heart Health Tips for You and Your Kids

(Dennison, Ohio) – February is American Heart Month and Trinity Hospital Twin City is sharing a few tips for you and your kids.

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women. About 630,000 people die of heart disease each year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths! According to Erica Mesler, CRT, Trinity Hospital Twin City Community Outreach Coordinator, there are four preventable risk factors that have the most negative impact on your heart:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having an unhealthy diet
  • Inactivity

Smoking –

“Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health and for the health of those around you,” explained Mesler. “The nicotine found in cigarettes can increase blood pressure and heart rate. It can also decrease the amount of blood flow to the heart and narrow the vessels that carry blood (arteries).” Additionally, she noted that nicotine can also contribute to hardening the arterial walls, which could lead to a heart attack. Carbon monoxide is also found in cigarettes, which decreases the amount of oxygen carried in the red blood cells. This can also increase cholesterol, which also contributes to the hardening of arteries. “And after 1year of quitting your risk of coronary heart disease reduces by 50%,” added Mesler.

Overweight or Obese –

“Losing weight, if done correctly, is a gradual process,” said Mesler. “You may want to try to keep a food and/or activity diary. Once you have a clear picture of your habits, set a realistic goal. Remember, weight didn’t show up overnight, so plan on losing it over several months.”

Eating Right –

According to Mesler, the first thing you have to do is figure out what you’re actually eating. “I mentioned the food diary, which is a great method to tracking what healthy or poor choices you are making,” she said. She also encourages you to record emotional factors throughout the day that may trigger poor eating habits like stress, happiness, sadness, and even boredom. She also recommends limiting unhealthy fats, cholesterol, sodium, and sugars and to always consider portion size.

Staying Active –

Mesler noted that the recommendation for adults is to be active for at least 150 minutes each week, or about 30 minutes a day most days of the week. Kids should be active at least 60 minutes a day. She explained that exercise can be anything that gets you moving and gets your heart rate up. You don’t have to sign up for the next marathon, a brisk walk is enough.

And a special tip for moms –

“The biggest tip I can give you to help your children live a heart-healthy life is to lead by example,” said Mesler. “Getting our kids to eat healthy has become a huge issue in recent years. I am guilty of it myself – coming home after work and not feeling like fighting with my son to eat a green bean or two, so I give him chicken nuggets and tater tots AGAIN.” Kids are picky about what they eat, but Mesler explained that can change with some creative ideas. “For me personally, if I can get my son to try something, 99% of the time he likes it,” she said. And other tips/tricks she recommended is that instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower, veggie tots, and fresh fruit for sweet treats.

Healthy Tip Tuesday is an exclusive partnership between Newsymom.com and Trinity Hospital Twin City Designed to keep you up-to-date with the latest and most relevant information you need to keep your family healthy. 

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