Unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical exercises among children are one of the major concerns nowadays. Obesity and malnutrition among kids is rising at an alarming rate, which will prone them towards serious health issues such as – heart attack. According to the data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of overweight or obese children increased from 32 million globally in 1990 to 41 million in 2016. The maximum deaths (around 17.9 million) in a year are caused due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and 3.2 million deaths are caused due to lack of physical exercises.
A recent study presented at the Brazilian Congress of Cardiology in Porto Alegre says that “encouraging physical activity and improving diet may cut the risk of heart attacks in kids”. Karine Turke, Lead author, said “Atherosclerosis – clogged arteries – starts in childhood and is more likely with a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet. Exposure to these behaviours throughout life increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, so prevention should begin in childhood.” The team of researchers studied the lifestyle of 433 Brazilian students aged 13 years. The median time of 40 and 60 minutes was spent doing mild, moderate and vigorous physical activity over one week.
The findings of the study turned out to be shocking. “Many had eaten processed foods, which are easier for parents to prepare than cooking from fresh ingredients. Physical activity is well below the level recommended by the WHO, which is 300 minutes per week for children and adolescents”, Turke revealed.
“The team suggests that inculcating balanced eating habits in children and making them understand the importance of leading a healthy life. Students will learn to classify foods as fresh, minimally processed, processed, and ultra-processed, and to prioritize fresh and minimally processed items,” Turke concluded.