The divisions of Pediatric Cardiology and Clinical Research at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine have jointly established a preventative cardiology program that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that can lead to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in children. This program includes, but is not limited to, obesity prevention and treatment (including complications of obesity) among many different high risk pediatric populations. Preventive cardiology is a field that spans the disciplines of nutrition, physical activity and medical treatments. This program uses state-of-the-art approaches to clinical care relating to the prevention and detection of early cardiovascular disease in youth.
Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, are major health problems worldwide. We now know that “adult” risk factors for future heart disease can be identified in children. These cardiovascular risk factors, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and being overweight, can occur in children due to family tendency (genes) or can be influenced by many other medical conditions and behavioral habits, or come from a combination of all of these factors.
Recent advancements including the development of personalized fitness training programs that include nutritional and physical rehabilitation components have clearly demonstrated positive effects on the nutritional, physiological, psychological, and emotional welfare of children, adolescents and adults. Improvements in functional capacity often promote increased physical activity among patients with cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal disease that will foster self-esteem and productivity.
Our department’s comprehensive nutrition-centered resistance and aerobic training program is appropriate for all healthy children as well as those who already have cardiovascular risks (such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, to name only a few). The program was originally developed for and will continue its focus on youth with chronic illnesses. However, most children can benefit from this type of program.