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Diet and Disease 
Heart Disease
Quick Facts for Teens
By: Barbara Willenberg, MS, 
Associate State Nutrition Specialist,
Family Nutrition Education Program
Family Nutrition
Education Programs

Nutrition and Lifeskills for Missouri Families

What's it all about? 

  • Heart disease is America's number one killer of both men and women. 
  • A heart attack occurs when an artery carrying blood to the heart gets blocked-without oxygen-rich blood, the heart muscle is damaged and can die. 
  • Arteries usually get blocked by a blood clot that gets stuck in an artery that is already narrowed by a build-up of plaque. 
  • Often, the first sign of heart trouble is a heart attack.

Why worry now, I'm a teenager?

Good question. Here are several reasons why teens should be concerned about heart disease:

  • About one-third of young people ages 10 to 19 have blood cholesterol levels that are too high-this is a risk factor for developing heart disease.
  • When young men who died in the Korean and Vietnam wars were autopsied, their arteries were already beginning to clog.

What causes my risk for heart disease? 

  • High blood pressure. 
  • High blood cholesterol. 
  • Being overweight, especially carrying extra fat around the stomach. 
  • Not getting much physical activity. 
  • Smoking. 
  • Heredity-having other people in your family with heart disease.

What can I do to prevent heart disease? 

  • Let the Food Guide Pyramid and the Dietary Guidelines be your key to healthy eating. 
  • Eat more low-fat foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grain breads and cereals like oatmeal. 
  • Switch to skim or 1 percent milk. 
  • Eat lean cuts of meat and take the skin off chicken and turkey. 
  • Get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, or most days.

Did you notice????

We can control many of the things that cause heart disease,
like what we eat, smoking and getting enough physical activity.

Related Topics:

 

Other Diet and Disease Educational Support Materials:
Cancer  Diabetes  Heart Disease  Hypertension 
Osteoporosis  Phytochemicals

 

 
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last updated: 10/27/08
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