Children of mothers with heart-healthy lifestyles live nearly a decade longer without cardiovascular disease than babies whose mothers have unhealthy lifestyles. That is the finding of a study published today above European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a magazine of the European Heart Association (ESC).
Study author Dr James Muchira of Vanderbilt University, Nashville and University of Massachusetts, Boston said: “Our research shows that mothers are the main protectors of their children̵7;s health. “This mother’s influence persists in the adulthood of their children.”
Previous research has shown that parents pass on health to their children through both genes and the shared environment / lifestyle. This is the first study to examine whether a parent’s cardiovascular health is related to the age at which their children develop cardiovascular disease. In addition, it investigates the influence of each parent separately.
The study was conducted on a trio of children – mother – father from the Tim Framingham Study – a total of 1,989 children, 1,989 mothers and 1,989 fathers. Children were enrolled at a median age of 32 years and followed up for more than 46 years (1971-2017) on the development of cardiovascular events. “It’s important that research has followed children for most of their adult lives when heart attacks and strokes actually occur,” explained Dr. Muchira.
The cardiovascular health of mothers and fathers was assessed on 7 factors: non-smoking, healthy diet, normal physical activity and body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood pressure. blood sugar. The three types of cardiovascular health are: poor (0 to 2 gain factors), moderate (3 to 4) and ideal (5 to 7).
The researchers evaluated the association between the cardiovascular health of parents and the length of time their children lived without cardiovascular disease. The associations between each pair are evaluated, ie mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter and father-son.
Children of mothers with ideal cardiovascular health lived 9 years longer without cardiovascular disease than children of mothers with poor cardiovascular health (27 versus 18 years, respectively). Maternal poor cardiovascular health is associated with twice as much risk of early onset cardiovascular disease than the mother’s ideal cardiovascular health. The father’s heart health did not have a statistically significant effect on the length of time the children lived without cardiovascular disease.
Dr Muchira says a powerful contribution mothers make can be a combination of health during pregnancy and the environment early in life. “If mothers have diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy, those risk factors will imprint on their babies very early in life,” he said. Also, women are often the primary caregivers and is the main role model for behavior. “
Boys are influenced more than girls by the mother’s unhealthy lifestyle. “This is because boys have more unfavorable lifestyle habits than girls, which makes the situation even worse. It shows that individuals can take responsibility for their own health,” Dr. Muchira said. People who inherit the high risk from their mothers can reduce that risk by exercising and eating well. Otherwise, the risk multiplies. “
The authors suggest that optimizing heart health in women of reproductive age and mothers with young children has the potential to disrupt the intergenerational cycle of cardiovascular disease.
Family-based interventions should be in place during pregnancy and very early in a child’s life, to the real impact of cardiovascular health protection on adulthood, said Dr. Muchira. “. “For example, pair a mother and child in an exercise program or improve the diet. If kids grow up to be healthy adults, they won’t have the same cardiovascular risk as their parents. , a situation that will increase your chances of having even healthier grandchildren. ”
Heart disease in young people may be related to being exposed to diabetes while in the womb
Muchira JM, Gona PN, Mogos MF, et al. Parental cardiovascular health predicts the time of onset of cardiovascular disease in children. Eur J Before Cardiol. 2020. DOI: 10.1093 / eurjpc / zwaa072
Provided by the European Heart Association
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