Heart-smart as kids

February is heart month, and that doesn’t just mean love is in the air.

February is heart month, and that doesn’t just mean love is in the air.

Unfortunately, Dr. Matthias Friedrich says there’s also too much salt on our plates, and it’s getting into the heart arteries of people as young as 12.

“Obesity is increasing dramatically in our society, especially at a young age,” Friedrich said. He works in cardiac sciences in the faculty of medicine at the University of Calgary.

He said that heart problems aren’t as big a concern in the minds of young people as they should be, as it is the leading cause of death in Canada.

Twelve-year-old Haley Shipley says she can’t remember ever being taught about the dangers of heart disease related to obesity.

“Cancer is probably the biggest disease I could get, I think. I’m not worried about it, but I also hear about AIDS a lot,” she said, even citing smallpox as a leading cause of death before heart disease.

A Calgary Board of Education representative said that while some schools choose to celebrate heart month, it’s not required of them to educate children about heart disease this month — which Friedrich said is totally wrong.

Friedrich said kids must learn healthy eating habits and get away from the norm in North America.

“Instead of taking our time and eating small portions, we don’t take time for our meals and we eat large portions. So this is a fast ingestion of large amounts of food.”

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