This program prevents heart disease from school
School programs aimed at teaching healthy cardiovascular health habits starting in preschool age can bring about important changes in children’s lifestyle and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a publication of the
«Journal of the American College of Cardiology».
Numerous studies have already shown that unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as a nutrient-poor diet, lifestyle sedentary and smoking, They are common among children and adolescents. And it is also known that there is a relationship between poor cardiovascular health in childhood and poor cardio-metabolic health in adults.
«The Program Yes! was developed as a school project for different levels with the
in order to promote cardiovascular health and achieve lasting changes in the lifestyle of children from preschool age”, says Valentin Fuster, general director of the
National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC), director of
Mount Sinai Heart and principal investigator of the project.
“The school environment is an excellent area to introduce lifestyle interventions,” he adds. Rodrigo Fernandez-Jimenez, study author. “There are specific times in a child’s life when changes can be made to improve long-term cardiovascular health status. Our review and previous studies suggest that 4-5 years of age is the most favorable time to start a school intervention focused on healthy habits.”
The authors reviewed outcomes over 10 years of the intervention, which included more than 3,800 children, from 3 to 5 years old, from 50 schools in Colombia, Spain and the USA. It was evaluated how the children changed their knowledge, attitudes and habits towards a healthier lifestyle. Those who received the training showed a significant increase in knowledge, attitudes and habits after the implementation of a four-month health promotion program.
To assess the success of the program, assimilation assessment tools were used for each child. Compared to children who received less than 50% of the program, it was found that children who participated in more than 75% of the program had a significant change from the beginning in general knowledge, attitudes and habits.
In order to review the objectives achieved in the SI Program! , the authors analyzed the diffusion (transmit information about the program to the school), the adoption (the school’s decision to try the program), the implementation (execute the health intervention effectively), the evaluation (assess how well the program achieved its objectives) and institutionalization (long-term incorporation of the program).
“Most preschool interventions focus solely on physical activity and diet. The SI! program divides cardiovascular health into four parts. Through the first two components, children are learning how a well balanced diet and one physically active life are directly connected to a healthy heart. Next, they are educated on the management of emotions, which seeks to inculcate behavioral mechanisms against substance abuse, mainly smoking, and future dietary lines in his life.
“Ultimately, children are taught how the human body works and how it is affected by behavior and lifestyle,” he explains. Glory Saints, lead author of the study.
Some of the challenges of implementing the program include family engagement, understanding each family’s economic situation, the amount of time spent on the program, and long-term adherence strategies.