Kids On Fast Track To Heart Attack

Kids On Fast Track To Heart Attack

Younger and younger children are being treated for adult cardiovascular conditions. A 12-year-old Texoman was even treated in April for a stroke.

"In general, the big thing that we're seeing is earlier on-set of diabetes, adult-onset diabetes, and earlier onset of hyper-tension, kids with high blood pressure," said Dr. Daunne Peters, a pediatrician at the Clinics of North Texas.

Dr. Peters said she saw about five of these cases in the past month, which is the same amount she is used to seeing in an entire year. All of the cases were in middle schooled-aged children.

Poor diet and lack of exercise are to blame, and Dr. Peters said it is parents' responsibility to start teaching their kids good habits at a young age.

"No kid is going to choose a salad over a cheeseburger, so you have to offer them the healthy things," said Dr. Peters. "If they have the choice between eating a handful of carrots or a bag of chips, what are they going to take? They're going to take the bag of chips, so you don't make that an offer, you don't make that a choice."

However, Dr. Peters said the way society works today, parents are not left with much room to make healthy decisions. "Parents are working more, we don't have stay at home moms or dads as much that can do good grocery store shopping and cooking." She adds, though, that the heart problems she is seeing in kids, should be enough of a concern for parents to make the extra effort.

Fortunately, the effects of poor lifestyle choices are reversible in kids if they are caught early enough. "A lot of the lipids and cardiovascular diseases and stuff, it's a long term, additive effect," said Dr. Peters. "So if you can catch it early, and stop it from adding up and stop it from happening, then yea, you can reverse that."

Christina Myers