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Children who learn heart healthy eating habits lower heart disease risk
Date:9/11/2007

A new study in a mid-August edition of Circulation: Journal of the America Heart Association confirms that when young children learn about heart healthy eating habits, it can strongly influence their heart disease risk later in life.

Results from the Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project have landmark implications on how children should be taught to eat. In this study, a childs fat intake, primarily reduction in intake of saturated fat, was found to be one of the greatest influencing factors, according to the research.

The publication of this study is timely since September 2007 is National Cholesterol Education Month, sponsored by the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes National Cholesterol Education Program.

Harri Niinikoski, M.D, Ph.D, lead author and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Turku in Finland, says: The aim of the diet counseling in our study was not to reduce the total number of fat calories in the diet, but to shift the childs intake from saturated toward unsaturated fats and have cholesterol intakes of less than 200 mg (such as the use of more vegetable oils than animal fats and butter.)

Key dietary changes in the intervention families included: 1) using soft margarine and liquid oils instead of butter to maintain adequate fat intake while lowering consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, and 2) appropriate adjustments to the type of milk consumed by the children.

Consumption of vegetables, fruits, berries, and whole grain products was encouraged as well.

The intervention families consisted of 540 children and their families who underwent intensive diet counseling; the control group (522 children and family members) received only basic dietary advice. The goal of dietary counseling for the intervention group was to keep total intake of fat at 30% to 35% of daily calories, the ratio of saturated fat to unsaturated fats at 1:2, and cholesterol i
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Contact: Dr. Harri Niinikoski
harri.niinikoski@tyks.fi
Kellen Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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