The International Childhood Cardiovascular Cohorts Consortium Outcomes Study has been collecting data on almost 40,000 people from the United States, Finland, and Australia. They started enrolling them as children in the 1970s through the 1990s, and have been following them ever since.
Science has proven that chronic, low-grade inflammation can turn into a silent killer that contributes to cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and other conditions. Get simple tips to fight inflammation and stay healthy — from Harvard Medical School experts.
From 2015 to 2019, the researchers followed up on all of these people, who were 46 on average, which is not very old.
What can parents do to help steer a course toward healthy adulthood?
In children and teens, it’s a bit more complicated; we look at the BMI percentile based on age and gender. If the percentile is between 85 and 95, the child is overweight; if it’s over 95, the child is obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a calculator you can use to get the BMI and percentile.
Know your child’s blood pressure — and whether it is healthy or not. Again, this depends on age, gender, and height. Sadly, many pediatricians miss abnormal blood pressures because numbers that seem normal can be unhealthy for some children, so it’s important to ask your doctor to be sure. Your child’s blood pressure should be measured at every checkup starting at age 3.
Protect yourself from the damage of chronic inflammation.
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Ask about checking your child’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This is generally done in adolescence, but may be done earlier if a child is overweight, or if there is a family history of elevated levels. If you or a close family member has high cholesterol or triglycerides, make sure your child’s pediatrician is aware.
No matter what your child’s numbers are, make sure they have a healthy diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. Limit added sugar (especially in beverages), processed foods, and unhealthy fats.