Actress Meg Tilly ("The Big Chill") opted to get out of the limelight while raising her children. As she told People magazine, she wanted to "make sure they had a hot breakfast every morning."
That protected her kids from the often-harmful glare of celebrity and long-distance parenting.
But less famous moms can make an even greater difference in their children's future. A study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology shows that grown children of moms who followed a truly heart-healthy lifestyle remain free of cardiovascular disease for nine to 10 years longer than offspring whose moms had moderately or very unhealthy habits.
A child's premature heart risk may start in utero, influenced by genetic factors or exposure to mom's obesity, smoking, poor nutrition, etc.
But even if you made mistakes while pregnant or have a familial risk for heart problems, the healthy choices you make for yourself while your children are young will translate into improved heart health when they're grown up.
How many of these goals have you achieved:
• Not smoking
• Healthy diet
• Physically active
• Normal body mass index
• Healthy blood pressure
• Healthy LDL cholesterol level
• Healthy glucose level
If you’ve reached zero to two of those goals, your grown offspring are at high risk for early heart disease.
Three to four puts your adult children at intermediate risk.
Hit four or five? You're what the researchers call ideal — and so are the chances for your children's long-term heart health.
If you aren’t motivated to upgrade your lifestyle for your own well-being, do it for your growing children.