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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
19-Nov-2013

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Contact: Lauren Woods
lauren.woods@mountsinai.org
646-634-0869
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Preschoolers can learn lasting heart-healthy lessons

Research team led by Dr. Valentin Fuster, Director of Mount Sinai Heart at The Mount Sinai Hospital, present promising 3-year follow-up study results in late-breaking clinical trial report at AHA Scientific Sessions 2013

IMAGE: A new study shows young children can learn heart-healthy habits from Sesame Street.

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Preschoolers can learn about healthy eating and exercise through Sesame Street.

In a study presented on November 18 at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013, preschoolers in Bogotá, Colombia participating in a structured curriculum that used Sesame Street's Healthy Habits for Life materials improved their knowledge, attitudes and habits related to a heart-healthy lifestyle. Also, the percentage of children at a healthy weight improved by 13 percent.

In 2006, Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, the study's principal investigator and Director of Mount Sinai Heart and Physician-in-Chief at The Mount Sinai Hospital, partnered with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, to develop this campaign to promote cardiovascular health education in the developing countries. Colombia was selected as the pilot.

In a five-month school based intervention, Sesame Street characters introduced heart-healthy ideas and actions to three- to five-year-olds and their parents in 14 preschools in underprivileged neighborhoods in Bogotá. Topics included:

Three years after the intervention, researchers retested 598 children and 475 parents:

IMAGE: This is the study's principal investigator is Dr. Valentin Fuster of The Mount Sinai Hospital, who is also the inspiration for the Muppet "Dr. Valentin Ruster " on the Spanish version...

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"As a result of our successful pilot intervention in Colombia, the program has also been implemented in Spain, where we have expanded our reach to 20,000 more children," says Dr. Fuster. "Additional countries are now joining in the implementation of this vital childhood intervention allowing for increased education about the benefits of a heart-healthy lifestyle to better protect our world's tiniest hearts."

"Cardiovascular health promotion should be started as early as possible and be integrated into all aspects of a child's life, including family and school," says Jaime Céspedes, MD, study co-author and director of the Pediatric Hospital at the Cardioinfantil Foundation Institute of Cardiology in Bogotá, Colombia, who presented the study's findings at the AHA Scientific Sessions 2013.

In addition, Colombia researchers are developing an intervention targeted at children in rural preschools and another aimed at those in the elementary grades.

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Study co-authors are German Dario Briceño, MD, MSc; Michael E. Farkouh, MD, MSc; Rajesh Vedanthan, MD, MPH; Jorge Baxter, MA; Martha Leal, MD, MSc; Paolo Boffetta, MD, PhD; Marilyn Hunn, BS; and Rodolfo Dennis, MD, MSc.

The Santo Domingo Foundation funded the study.

This study was presented as Late-Breaking Clinical Trial (Abstract 19618): Promotion of Cardiovascular Health in Preschool Children: 36-month Cohort Follow-up.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven member hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 6,600 primary and specialty care physicians, 12-minority-owned free-standing ambulatory surgery centers, over 45 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, as well as 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report.

For more information, visit http://www.mountsinai.org.

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