Today is Valentine’s Day, and you’re probably already thinking with your heart. The letter below from Dr. Ruth Petersen, director of the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, reminds us to use our head when we think about our heart. The Heart Network is proud to have joined the national Active People, Healthy Nation initiative. We encourage you to do the same: click here to learn more.
As February is American Heart Month, you have probably been reminded recently that heart disease is the leading cause of death for most Americans. Keep in mind that our shared efforts address three important risk factors for heart disease: eating well, staying active, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Ideally eating well for children starts during pregnancy as women need iron, folate, and iodine for healthy fetal growth and development. Last year we updated our website’s pages on infant and toddler nutrition. Topics include breastfeeding, formula feeding, feeding from a bottle, mealtime tips, essential vitamins and minerals, and food and drinks for children younger than 2 years of age. Please feel free to share these pages with your partners and constituents to help give children a healthy start.
Lack of physical activity is another risk factor for heart disease. In January we launched Active People, Healthy Nation to help 27 million Americans become more active by 2027. I have joined the movement – have you?
Overweight and obesity are additional risk factors for heart disease. In November we reported modest declines in obesity among young children enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Despite this progress, obesity affects about 13.7 million US children and adolescents. This calls for continued commitment to interventions and prevention. Read about our pediatric weight management work in this newsletter.
In collaboration with our national, state, and local partners, I look forward to future progress reports on improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, and maintaining healthy weight. Ultimately this will reduce the incidence of heart disease and other chronic diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes and 13 types of cancer. It will take all of us working together to make this happen.
Thank you for all that you do.