Teen Heart Health Co-founder, Luca Pistor, is a Freshman at Stanford University in California. He is currently pursuing a concurrent B.A. in Linguistics and B.S. in Computer Science. He previously attended high school at BBIS, an international boarding school in Berlin. As his family has had a history of heart disease, Luca became interested in preventive measures that can be taken against heart disease, and he contacted preventive cardiologist Karol Watson, MD, PhD. Their emails led to a roundtable discussion with her team in 2014, and the "Teen Heart Health Initiative" was born.
Luca states; "If heart disease is the number one reason people die, and so much of it is as a result of lifestyle choices begun in childhood, we have to get the message to K-12 schools to have the biggest impact". Luca and the other teen co-founders Kaycee Branche and Hannah Fogelman worked throughout their High School time, expanding their teen reach, and holding heart health workshops in K-8 schools around Los Angeles. As Luca expanded his social entrepreneurship program internationally, he brought heart health education to teens in schools around the world with his social impact program JSESInternational.com. Luca is committed to increasing heart-healthy habits to teens and young adults worldwide!
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and globally, and despite improvements in cardiovascular mortality in the past 50 years, death rates from heart disease remain unacceptable high. In addition, recent negative trends in the heath of adolescents make it likely that cardiovascular disease epidemic will only worsen in the coming years. Several recent studies have shown that US teens are not very healthy these days. Using data from the US centers for disease control and prevention (CDC), researchers recently evaluated the frequency of “ideal heart health” (normal blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and BMI as well as a healthy diet, regular physical activity and not smoking) in teens and found he numbers troubling. Specifically they found that:
So, despite some glimmers of good news on this report, the overall findings and the presence of these poor health metrics in teens does not bode well for the future of this generation.
Recent research has also found that teens are under increasing amounts of stress. Many teens report being under more stress than they believe is healthy (figure 1), and only half of teens (50%) report feeling confident about their ability to handle their personal problems. While both teens and adults perceive stress, teens have underdeveloped stress management skills and thus may be more adversely affected by stress. Stress is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
We find the prevalence of poor diet, lack of physical activity and increased stress among teens to be particularly alarming. This is why we envisioned the UCLA Teen Heart Health Initiative. Three motivated teens were the inaugural members of the UCLA Teen Heart Health Initiative in 2014. In the past 2 years, these teens have had brainstorming sessions, completed school visits to share heart healthy messages to other teens and children, and have created a motto and web content to inspire and share as well:
“Move your feet….Watch what you eat….stay upbeat!”
Join us in this movement towards overall healthy lifestyles and cardiovascular health. Insure your future is the best it can be. Learn more >>
What is the PROBLEM?
What is the SOLUTION?
What IMPACT does ‘Teen Heart Health Initiative’ have?
• Provides an EDUCATION about healthy choices that may immediately affect teens eating and exercising habits and increase their chances for a healthy cardiovascular system