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09:41 AM

L.A. Parent: Start Your Kids on a Heart-Healthy Path

L.A. Parent recently interviewed Michelle Kittleson, MD, PhD, a cardiologist at the Smidt Heart Institute and a mother of three boys, about heart-healthy habits that parents should adopt for their children today to set them up for a healthier future.

Kittleson told L.A. Parent that there are some simple ways to start forming heart healthy habits.

Tip No. 1: Stop buying soda for your children. Instead, replace it with milk or water.

“Once kids realize soda just isn’t’ there, they adapt. And they will get used to life without it,” Kittleson told L.A. Parent.

She also recommends keeping packaged sweets out of the house, planning exercise activities like a park playdate and setting a family rule that kids need to earn their screen time. 

“If you want to watch that half hour of TV per child per night, it means that you need to have cleaned up everything, you need to do a lesson in your lesson book, you need to have practiced your piano or you need to have run around and gotten some fresh air outside,” Kittleson told L.A. Parent.

Although heart problems in children are rare, Kittleson said there are signs parents should discuss with their pediatrician.

“If you notice that your child isn’t keeping up with other kids and doesn’t seem to like exercise – not because they’d rather be on their screens, but just because they seem to not keep up and be short of breath – then it’s always a good idea to discuss that with the pediatrician,” Kittleson told the magazine.

On your next visit to your child’s pediatrician, Kittleson advises parent to ask the following three questions:

  • Where do you think my kid is on the spectrum of healthy kids?
  • Where are her/his behaviors on the spectrum of healthy behaviors?
  • What could we do to make our family healthier?

“I guarantee every pediatrician will be so happy to hear those questions,” Kittleson said.

Click here to read the complete article in L.A. Parent.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Milk Mania: Cow vs. Soy vs. Nut.