Cholesterol and Children

Although cholesterol is inside each and every one of us, and millions of people across the world suffer from unhealthy levels, many parents don’t tend to associate cholesterol with kids, letting life-changing problems go unnoticed. Heart disease, high blood pressure and all other problems associated with high cholesterol can be obtained by children. Although it can be hard to spot early, it can definitely be spotted.

The first step is to get your children checked out regularly. If heart disease or any related illnesses are common in your family, then you will need to make sure your child sees a local GP a lot more often than usual. Identifying high cholesterol early can be the difference between a healthy, prolonged life, and a problem filled, premature one!

Cholesterol level monitoring is simple. A blood test is all it takes to give the doctor enough information as to your child’s cholesterol levels, and their chances of any problems developing. If your family is known for having heart problems, then it is recommended to have your child screened as early as possible, even as early as 2 years old. It is better to be safe than sorry!

Healthy total cholesterol levels for children range from 100 – 170, and anything exceeding 200 is considered high. If, by taking your child for a screening, you discover a high cholesterol level, it is better to know early, as this will give you more time to eliminate any possible causes for the high numbers: The number one cause being a bad diet.

Children, typically around 6-10 years old, tend to have a sweet tooth and an eye for candy, sugared drinks and fast food. Although they may taste good, they are essentially increasing the chances of your child developing a heart disease, or an unexpected stroke. Changing your  child’s diet can be difficult, especially when their emotions get the better of them. Constantly complaining and throwing tantrums over ‘how bad the vegetables taste’, but make sure you stay firm and persistent. Sooner than later, your children will grow accustomed to healthy eating, and will most likely adopt that approach to eating when they grow up.

Good foods to include in your child’s diet are foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. All of these foods are high in proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, everything your child needs to grow into the strong, healthy being you want them to be. These types of foods are typically low in fats, especially the bad fats such as saturated and Trans! Not only will a diet full of healthy foods improve your child’s cholesterol levels, it will also promote healthy growth and an overall better health.

Of course, you can’t expect children to stick to a healthy diet forever, without giving them a treat, so if your child can actually adopt a healthy approach to eating, do not be afraid to treat them once in a while, with a sweet or a fast-food meal. Everybody needs treats, just be careful not to let your child over indulge in unhealthy foods. They are good in moderation, but if healthy cholesterol levels are what you want in your child, then try your best to be firm.