AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

We all like to think our kids are perfectly healthy and that high cholesterol is a disease for seniors. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In a society where fast foods and diets high in saturated fats, today’s children are not immune to high cholesterol woes.

child Yes, Your Kids Can Have High Cholesterol Too

Studies indicate that approximately 10 percent of children already have elevated cholesterol levels, including some with levels high enough to warrant use of high cholesterol medication. Currently, screening is only recommended for children who have a genetic predisposition to premature heart disease in parents or grandparents, but this study has proven that these guidelines miss a lot of children with the problem.

Of the more than 20,000 fifth-graders screened through 2010, 71.4 percent qualified for screening according to current guidelines. 8.3 percent had abnormal blood fat levels, including LDLs (‘bad’ cholesterol) in excess of 130 mg/dL. Another 1.2 percent had levels in excess of 160 mg/dL, indicating a possible need for medication. For the 28.6 percent of children who did not qualify for screening according to current guidelines, 9.5 percent had elevated levels, with 1.7 percent in excess of the level indicating a possible need for medication. As of 2012, a total of 192,610 fifth-graders have been tested, and 25.7 percent have had abnormal lipid values (CARDIAC Project). These numbers are staggering for our youth.

If you’re wondering whether or not you should have your child tested, think about some risk factors for children. These don’t guarantee risk, but they are good guidelines. Is your child overweight or obese? Is your child mostly sedentary? Does your family have a history or premature heart disease or high cholesterol? Does your child have a diet high in simple sugars and saturated fat? If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, getting a cholesterol panel for your child might not be a bad idea.

Correcting high cholesterol in children is relatively easy to do without medications. Add whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to your child’s diet and reduce the simple sugars and high fat foods. Increase your child’s activity levels. Not only will these lower your child’s cholesterol, but they will help your child become healthier overall and help avoid other health problems as your child ages in adulthood. It is much easier to lose weight as a child than it is in adulthood. These lifestyle and diet changes for your child will also help improve your family’s overall health – which is never a bad thing!

Categories: Health concerns

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