Lifestyles and Cardiovascular Prevention in Childhood and Adolescence


Abrignani, Maurizio Giuseppe; Lucà, Fabiana; Favilli, Silvia; Benvenuto, Manuela; Rao, Carmelo Massimiliano; Di Fusco, Stefania Angela; Gabrielli, Domenico; & Gulizia, Michele Massimo (2019). Lifestyles and Cardiovascular Prevention in Childhood and Adolescence. Pediatric Cardiology. vol. 40 (6) pp. 1113-1125


Pathology studies demonstrated that coronary fatty streaks develop early in life and that even more advanced fibrous plaques are present in a proportion of adolescents. The presence and extent of atherosclerosis in children and adolescents can be correlated with the same risk factors present in adults; as well as, childhood levels of these risk factors predict adult cardiovascular diseases. Children are born with ideal cardiovascular health but, unfortunately, most of them develop over time modifiable behavioral risk factors. Achieving sustained lifestyle changes initiated too late in adults is difficult, and pharmacologic risk factor control cannot fully restore a low-risk state. Therefore, it seems eminently reasonable to initiate healthful lifestyle training as early in life, decreasing the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors to retard atherogenic processes and reduce the future burden of cardiovascular diseases. Many guideline recommendations encourage universal adoption of healthier lifestyles, identification of children with cardiovascular risk factors, and their treatment using targeted lifestyle modification and, rarely, pharmacotherapy. Major gains will likely accrue from public health strategies targeting incorrect diet, physical activity, and cigarette smoking. Individualized strategies, however, will initially focus on the highest risk children such as those with familial hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. The primary purpose of this article is to provide a broad overview on the long-term cardiovascular effects of risk factors in children and youth and to outline various lines of evidence for the efficacy of primordial and primary prevention in young people, as well as recommendations for population- and individual-level strategies and evidence-based interventions.






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Journal Article

Journal Title

Pediatric Cardiology


Abrignani, Maurizio Giuseppe
Lucà, Fabiana
Favilli, Silvia
Benvenuto, Manuela
Rao, Carmelo Massimiliano
Di Fusco, Stefania Angela
Gabrielli, Domenico
Gulizia, Michele Massimo

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