Home  >  Carol LeBeau  >  Carol's Health Journal | 02 February 2010

Kids and Heart Health

02. February 2010

Heart disease isn’t just for adults anymore. Childhood obesity is an increasing threat to the health of our young people. An American Heart Association study concludes overweight kids are “coronary time bombs!” In fact, health experts predict overweight children and teens are on track to develop heart disease between the ages of 35 and 50!

There’s plenty of blame to go around. Too much fast food. Way too much TV and video games. Too little activity. Like most adults, kids simply don’t move enough, and the time bomb is ticking away. We’ve got to get our kids moving again!

Sports and exercise can change a kid’s life. I know. They did mine. I was awkward kid with thick glasses and buck teeth, but the real problem was my weight. The kids at school called me “Carol the Barrel.” At 13, I was on my way to becoming a health statistic.

I was lucky. My parents saw the pounds piling on and took action. Mom fixed me diet Jell-O for dessert. Dad would weigh me in the living room every Saturday morning to see if I’d made any progress. (Dad’s a great guy…just a little short in the sensitivity department. And I WOULD get a dollar if I lost a pound!)

They eventually took me to the local YMCA where I twirled batons, bounced on trampolines and attempted forward rolls on the gymnastics mat, failing miserably at everything. But mom and dad didn’t stop trying. They gave it one more try and signed me up for swimming lessons. Bingo! Something I could do! And it changed my life. I lost weight, gained confidence and found an activity I could take through my entire life. I made a living at it for years as a lifeguard and swimming instructor and competed through high school and college, and still compete in the masters swimming program.

Whether it’s swimming, soccer or taekwondo, every kid needs to be involved in a sport or activity. And it doesn’t have to be intense competition. Find the right activity, and exercise can be fun! Let’s face it, as adults we’re already suffering the health consequences of our sedentary lifestyles. We ought to at least give our kids a chance… a chance to live past 50.

Palomar Health is the premier provider of cardiac care services in North County San Diego, offering a full range of diagnostic, medical, surgical and rehabilitative care services for your heart.

Take advantage of Palomar Health blood pressure and cholesterol screenings or learn about Palomar Health's Project21SD community education program, which is tackling obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. For a referral to one of our board certified cardiologists at Find a Doctor page.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.