Parent Survival Guide: Getting heart healthy as a family

VIDEO: Parent Survival Guide: Getting heart healthy as a family

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.

For more than a year, Sonya Wilson-Bailey, along with her husband and her 11-year-old son Joseph, have been making some healthy changes to their diets and getting active.

“We are minimizing portion sizes and doing more fruits and veggies. We also allow ourselves to do more movement,” says Wilson-Bailey.

Wilson-Bailey says since last year she and her family have dropped between 25 and 30 pounds.

She says this year she has tweaked what her family is doing to get better results.

The activity of choice for her son Joseph is basketball.

“I can shoot half court shots, layups and three pointers,” says Joseph.

“We have been vamping up our movement, so we went from 30 to 45 minutes and sometimes on the weekend we do more activity which is over an hour,” says Wilson-Bailey.

Sonya’s family is also taking part in MUSC’s heart health pediatric weight management program.

Registered Dietitican Janet Carter has been helping guide them with nutrition, behavioral education, and personalized coaching. The family also makes regular clinic visits.

“It’s really great when families can work together on healthy habits and support each other. It just creates a healthy environment,” says Carter.

Carter says because parents pick the food that comes into the home it’s important to choose wisely and build healthy habits early on. She says when shopping, take your kids and choose a wide variety of color with produce and plenty of leafy greens.

She says also teach kids to pay attention to nutrition labels, staying away from highly processed foods high in fat sodium and added sugar.

“That’s really what it comes down to,” she said."More plant based foods. That’s really where the nutrition is going to be found and healthful benefits. The main focus I have for the kids is to help them understand the better things we put in the better we will feel.

Carter says the MUSC Pediatric Heart Health Program is for any child who has abnormal weight gain and associated heart risk factors.

To enroll you can call (843) 792-4717 or (800) 343-1983 to get started. You need a doctor’s referral to the program, which can be faxed to (843) 792-5878.

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