Children and Cholesterol

Jan 25 by

Children Can Be Affected By High Cholesterol Too

Adults are not the only people who have high cholesterol risk factors, but most people overlook the fact that children can be at risk for high cholesterol levels too. That also means they can be at risk for heart disease.

There are 3 risk factors for high cholesterol in children:

  • heredity
  • diet
  • being overweight.

It’s probably not surprising that the kids who might be high risk for high cholesterol levels also often have at least one parent at risk for high cholesterol. Now there is very little that can be done about the heredity risk – it’s outside your control. You can’t exactly pick your parents..

As a parent or an older child there is a lot we can do to control the other risk factors for high cholesterol in children.

What children eat is largely influenced by what the adults in the household eat . No great surprise there, it’s normally the adults who buy and prepare the food that kids eat. Kids may be given a choice of what foods they eat, but some may sneak foods, or make bad food choices when away from parents. Children therefore have a degree of control over what they eat.

That makes it important for children to learn at home and in school what good food choices are. They need to know what will keep them healthy including the good food choices to keep their cholesterol levels in the healthy range.

Our weight, as an adult or child is largely influenced by the amount of food we eat, the types of food that we eat and how much physical activity we get each day. Food therefore has an influence on two of the risk factors for high cholesterol in children. That makes good food education an important reason to make sure kids understand the impact of the foods they eat.

 

School-aged children can be taught good food choices, of course. But they can also have their cholesterol levels checked with a simple blood test. For children with a family history of high cholesterol levels it might be important to have this screening test performed. Early knowledge is a great tool for giving you enough time to deal with the situation.

The magic numbers that indicate borderline high levels of cholesterol in children are between 170 and 199 mg/dL. Levels are considered high in children if they are higher than 200mg/dL.

If your child has cholesterol levels that are high, there are some things that can be done to lower them. The first and best way to treat children with high cholesterol levels is to teach them how to have a healthy diet and how to exercise properly. Good diet, sensible exercise and a lifelong commitment to maintaining their own health is a great starting point.

Children should eat foods that are low in total fat, saturated fat, and especially trans fat. Also aim for food that is low in cholesterol to help lower their cholesterol levels, or to maintain existing good cholesterol levels. The amount of total fat a child (over age two) should consume should be 30% or less of their daily caloric intake.

As with any health issues you should always consult your doctor, or primary health care provider. The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician.

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