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A long-term cardiovascular health promotion program initiated in preschool with children as young as 3 years old had a significant beneficial effect on lifestyle-related behaviors and measures of adiposity, the results of a new study show. Preschool-aged children exposed to the Spanish health-promotion program significantly improved their thinking and behavior related to diet, physical activity, and the body/heart, with the largest improvements observed in scores assessing physical activity. The researchers showed that children exposed to the program for the maximum 3 years—starting in their first year of preschool at 3 years of age until 5 years of age—also had a small but significant reduction in subscapular skinfold measurements using World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

The program, which included 2062 children, was designed to promote cardiovascular health among children using the school, teachers, and families as part of the intervention. Over the school year, trained teachers provided information and classroom material for a minimum of 20 hours on diet, physical activity, and the human body, as well as 10 hours on emotion management. The intervention also included activities for the family over the weekend.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/851694?nlid=88789_1985&src=wnl_edit_medp_card&uac=125645DR&spon=2&impID=847095&faf=1