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Preventing congenital heart disease, beyond genetic counseling, is almost impossible. However, good habits developed in childhood, can prevent future problems when they enter adulthood.

Today's children are more overweight and inactive than any other generation. The best way to prevent future heart disease is activity. This, combined with a healthy, balanced diet, can't be beat for giving you the best chances of a long and healthy life. And, active people report that they “get more out of life” than those who are more sedentary.

Nutrition Tips

If you think it's tough to lose weight as an adult, try putting a child on a diet!

  • Stressing “healthy”, providing wise choices and limiting high-calorie low-nutrition snacks are the ways to go.
  • DON'T NAG!
  • Depending on the child's age, involve him or her in meal and snack planning Food labels are a great learning tool for understanding the differences between foods as far as serving sizes, calories, fats, nutrients etc. They make a great math lesson, too!
  • Always serve from the stove (except vegetables and salad).
  • Make your house rule that no snacks are forbidden, but a parent must dispense them. This could eliminate eating out of the box and help you monitor how much and how many servings your child is actually eating.
  • Replace sugary soda and juices with milk, ice water or spritzers (juice with seltzer water).
  • Though school lunches usually provide a well-balanced (albeit higher calorie) menu, you have no control over what foods your child actually eats from the offering. Try packing lunch 3 days, and letting your child “buy” 2 days.
  • Make dinner lighter on the days s/he buys lunch
  • Buy any snacks in individual serving packages when possible. It may be more expensive, but less will get eaten.
  • Check out natural food stores and read labels.