Usually high cholesterol is considered an adult problem, most kids may not even know what cholesterol is…
With the increase in childhood obesity and diabetes, cholesterol screening is now being recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in children between the ages of 2 and 10. Children at higher risk for cholesterol problems include: kids who are overweight/obese, have diabetes, have high blood pressure and/or have a family history of early heart disease. LDL (which is the “lousy” or bad) cholesterol levels for children should be 130 mg/dl or lower.
If your childs cholesterol level is elevated healthy lifestyle changes should be implemented. Children need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day, limit portion sizes, weight loss strategies (if overweight) and follow a low fat/low sodium diet. Cholesterol medications should be considered if a child has a LDL cholesterol level above 160 mg/dl plus 2 risk factors for heart disease, or if your child’s LDL cholesterol is above 190 mg/dl even if no other risk factors are present.
Elevated cholesterol levels in children are predictive of future heart problems – so it’s important to start early and encourage your children to develop heart healthy habits!
Visit www.heart-strong.com for more heart healthy tips (Kids section called “Little Hearts”)