Intervention for Children Promotes Long-Lasting Heart-Healthy Behaviors
The implementation of a cardiovascular health promotion program in preschool-aged children may promote lifestyle changes that continues through adulthood, according to the results of a recent review.1,2
The researchers developed the SI! (Salud Integral-Comprehensive Health) Program to bring a school-based intervention to 50 schools in Bogota, Colombia; Madrid, Spain; and Harlem, New York, United States beginning in 2009. More than 3800 students aged 3 to 5 years were included and were followed for the 10-year study period.
The 4-month program focused on 4 areas of heart health: diet, exercise, emotion management, and behavior and lifestyle. Video segments, printed materials such as a colorful storybook and a teacher’s guide, and a heart-shaped mascot were used to convey the lessons to the participating students.
The results indicated that children who received more than 75% of the program had a significant change from baseline in overall knowledge, attitudes, and habits of a healthy lifestyle, compared with those who received less than 50% of the program.
“Achieving sustained lifestyle changes in preschool children through health promotion programs is likely to require the integration of several factors: (1) multidisciplinary teams; (2) multidimensional educational community engagement; (3) multilevel interventions; (4) local program coordination and community engagement; and (5) scientific evaluation through randomized controlled trials,” the researchers concluded. “Implementation of effective health promotion interventions early in life may induce long-lasting health behaviors that could help curb the cardiovascular disease epidemic.”
- Santos-Beneit G, Fernández-Jiménez R, de Cos-Gandoy A, et al. Lessons learned from 10 years of preschool intervention for health promotion: JACC state-of-the-art review. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022;79(3):283-298. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2021.10.046
- Introducing lifestyle interventions in preschool lowers CVD risk. News release. American College of Cardiology; January 17, 2022. Accessed January 18, 2022. https://www.acc.org/Latest-in-Cardiology/Articles/2022/01/17/19/15/Introducing-Lifestyle-Interventions-in-Preschool-Lowers-CVD-Risk