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With more children at risk for heart disease, make healthy changes this Thanksgiving

 

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Happy Thanksgiving from the American Heart Association! This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for all of our amazing advocates who take the time to help us save lives, whether it is coming to the Capitol for an Advocating for Heart Day or simply educating family and friends about the importance of heart health. There is a lot of work to be done to reach our impact goal of reducing heart disease and stroke by 20% by the year 2020, and we are so grateful to have you all by our side to help us achieve that goal!

Because this is everyone’s favorite holiday to relax and eat lots of good food, we’d like to take this opportunity to shine a spotlight on an area of heart health that sometimes goes unnoticed: childhood obesity. We recently wrapped up the annual American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, a conference where the nation’s leaders in heart and stroke research come together to share their findings. There were many studies presented, including one about the heart health of obese children. This report is particularly troubling as it shows that children as young as 8 years old are starting to develop signs of heart disease:

“‘Parents should be highly motivated to help their children maintain a healthy weight,’ said Linyuan Jing, Ph.D. … ‘Ultimately we hope that the effects we see in the hearts of these children are reversible; however, it is possible that there could be permanent damage. This should be further motivation for parents to help children lead a healthy lifestyle.’”

Obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, which means that they are more likely to suffer from preventable chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. So this Thanksgiving, we’ve prepared a lot of resources, including this video, to help families take those necessary steps toward enjoying the holiday both happily and healthfully.

We always hear, “I’ll start after the holidays,” but making healthy eating a lifestyle begins with making small changes every day. So don’t wait, start today by checking out heart.org for holiday tips, recipes, and more!

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