Years ago, high blood pressure was something adults developed as they got older. But given our modern day lifestyles—filled with fast-food based, high fat diets, and sedentary activities—record numbers of children have hypertension.
As caretakers for our children during their early lives, it’s really up to adults to help our children maintain healthy blood pressure. After all, we’re the ones prepping their meals, supervising their out-of-school hours, and taking them to the pediatricians. And moms, dads and grandparents call all team up together to help the children we love.
How Can We Help Our Children to Have Healthy Blood Pressure?
- Keep Them Active: Studies show that more active kids tend to have healthy blood pressure. So, the best thing we can do is keep our kids physically active. When I raised my children, all we had to monitor was television viewing. Now we have the internet, cell phones, and electronic games to contend with. So, get the whole family off the couch and go out for a walk, bike ride, or toss the ball around in the yard.
- Serve Healthy Meals: High salt, high trans-fat meals—which are far too common in fast-food restaurants—lead to obesity and hypertension. Try cooking at home, and involve your children in planning and preparing healthy meals. The example you set today will help your child maintain healthy blood pressure for many years to come.
- Set a Good Example: It’s not easy, but kids learn from our example. When you eat healthy meals, maintain a healthy body weight, and exercise—your children are more likely to do the same.
- Make Sure Your Pediatrician Checks Your Child’s Blood Pressure: Healthy blood pressure is no longer a given, so be proactive at your child’s visit—and ask what that number is so you can monitor it.
Now it's your turn: How do you help your children and grandchildren maintain healthy blood pressure?