Coronary heart disease develops slowly over decades as plaque builds up and hardens your arteries. Childhood cardiac disorders are not caused by coronary heart disease. Lifestyle factors play a major role in coronary heart disease, however, and dangerous plaque deposits can begin to build up starting in childhood. Help your child get a healthy head-start by teaching them good nutrition habits and encouraging exercise. Elevated cholesterol early in life can lead to long-term damage. Monitor your child's cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Explain the dangers of smoking, and set a good example by not smoking yourself.