"Preschool Is Prime Time to Teach Healthy Lifestyle Habits" - Robert Preidt
Principal investigator Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, director of Mount Sinai Heart and physician in chief of The Mount Sinai Hospital created and led the FAMILIA Project, a first-of-its-kind study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Results showed that teaching preschoolers about healthy habits can reduce their risk of obesity and heart disease later in life. The study included 562 children in 15 preschools in Harlem, which has a largely black and Hispanic population. Kids in six preschools (the control group) continued their regular classroom curriculum, which included a health education component. Kids in the other nine schools (the intervention group) were part of a special program created by cardiologists, psychologists and educators. Over four months, the intervention group was taught about healthy eating, physical activity, how the body works and managing emotions. "The interventions that we applied in the school system are low-cost and easy to implement, and we hope in time they can be integrated into schools across the country to promote healthy behaviors among children to ultimately reduce their risk factors for developing heart disease throughout their lives," said Dr. Fuster.
— Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, Director, Mount Sinai Heart, Physician in Chief, The Mount Sinai Hospital, Professor, Medicine, Cardiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai