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Happy Childhood May Equal Healthy Heart

Update Date: Feb 22, 2013 03:58 PM EST

Keeping your children happy and satisfied early on in life can literally lead to a healthier heart. According to a study done by researchers from Dartmouth University, children who are happier at a younger age seem to also have physically better hearts later on in life. The study was published in the Circulation journal, and its purpose was to measure the extent to which childhood psychosocial health can help predict adult heart health. 

415 adults from the Collaborative Perinatal Project were recruited for this study and the average of the adults were 42 years-old. Researchers had monitored three main factors of the participants' childhood which included one's attention span, home environment, and cognitive ability when they were seven years-old. Good focusing abilities, positive family household environment, and good cognitisve abilities were considered to be linked to a happy childhood in this study. After 35 years, the researchers followed up on these participants' heart health. The three and a half decade long study concluded that the three factors that measured happiness in childhood correlated to a healthier heart. Participants who had the three factors in childhood had a heart that was roughly four times healthier than the other participants without all three factors. 

The authors of the study wrote that "positive child psychosocial factors may promote healthy adult cardiovascular functioning...Primordial prevention efforts aimed at preventing the development of cardiovascular risk should consider building on child psychosocial resources."

This finding can help families with a history of cardiovascular problems find ways of reducing the risk of heart diseases. It is also important to remember that happy childhoods are also linked to brain benefits, good social skills, and an overall good well being, and thus, keeping your children happy is key to a better lifestyle.

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