9 out of 10 children in Delhi and Punjab have questionable heart-healthy lifestyle: Study

Through a questionnaire-based examination of 3,200 kids between the ages of 5 and 18 years, cardiologist Rajneesh Kapoor assessed factors that impact cardiovascular health, reported IANS.

9 out of 10 children in Delhi and Punjab have questionable heart-healthy lifestyle: Study

In a first-of-its-kind study, 9 out of 10 children from Delhi and Punjab show signs of degressive heart health and a need for lifestyle modifications. Dr Rajneesh Kapoor conducted a study where he examined 3,200 children in the age group of 5-18 years through a questionnaire-based assessment on parameters that affect cardiovascular health.

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Each participant was given a cardiovascular health score based on their responses to body mass index, physical activity, bedtime hours, sleep time hours, dietary habits, and nicotine exposure (if any). 

In this assessment, the maximum attainable score was set at 100 and subjects were profiled for advice on lifestyle modifications based on their scores relative to it, he informed. "A score less than 40 was categorized as concerning, children in this needed intense lifestyle modifications starting as early as possible. A score between 70 and 100 was healthy, whereas children scoring between 40 and 70 need moderate lifestyle movements," he was quoted by IANS.

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The study revealed that 24 per cent of the participants had a cardiovascular health score of less than 40, 68 per cent featured in the 40-70 score category, and the lifestyle of just eight per cent met all criteria needed for a healthy cardiovascular system, he said. "Obesity was seen to be prevalent in 38 per cent of the total study population, inadequate sleep was in three per cent but improper bedtime hours were noted in the routine of 75 per cent of children. 

The circadian rhythm, the body's intrinsic 24-hour clock, aids in controlling both physical and mental performance. He said little or no physical activity followed by poor dietary habits were found to be the topmost factors negatively affecting the cardiovascular health score in the study population. 

Based on these results, Dr Kapoor urged parents to intervene and facilitate lifestyle modifications in their children that can potentially avert cardiovascular disease risk and other serious lifestyle issues in adulthood. "Another very important step is to keep the children moving. Physical activity should be incorporated into a family's schedule, whether it be through a formal class or simply playing in a park. But the activity should be age-appropriate and align with the child`s interests," added Kapoor.

"Most people don't think about risk factors during childhood but I think it is actually essential that we all start doing that. Because it is probably way easier to prevent the development of cardiac risk factors than to try and get rid of them once they've developed. So the question is what can be done," he said.

"It starts with healthy eating, a good one is a diet where half the food is vegetables and fruits, a quarter is lean protein, and a quarter is a whole grain, with a side of dairy," Dr Kapoor told IANS.

The study is now lined up for presentation at the Innovations in Interventional Cardiology Summit 2022, a two-day annual meet, starting on August 27.

(With IANS inputs)

Also read: Sonali Phogat death due to heart attack: Why you must start health check-ups early; 7 tips for healthy heart

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