More than 600 000 children in the United States have a congenital or acquired cardiac abnormality, and millions more are at risk of developing atherosclerotic disease in adulthood, a risk made particularly evident by the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in the young. There are barriers to optimum prevention and treatment of these conditions in children and youth. The AHA's Task Force on Children and Youth has described these barriers and outlined a series of recommendations and strategies to meet the challenges they impose. More research is needed, and research initiatives will be developed at scientific conferences designed to review critical areas of cardiac development and etiology of disease in children. Financial support for such research initiatives must be increased. Educational programs on cardiovascular risk factors will be extended to children and their families. When these programs are coordinated with efforts in the community and in schools, they will reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors. The task force recommends that various departments and committees of the AHA use their resources for the benefit of children: for example, by developing more research initiatives for funding by the AHA or NHLBI and increasing legislative and regulatory efforts in the areas such as mandatory school health programs and tobacco advertising. It is hoped that in the next decade, through research and educational efforts, many advances in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases in the young will be realized.