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Kids and cholesterol

Kids and cholesterol

High cholesterol not only affects adults, but it can affect children as well. But there are steps parents can take to treat and more importantly, prevent, this condition in their children.

Doctors now believe cholesterol problems can start in childhood, as a growing number of children are considered obese, high cholesterol is linked to obesity and potentially heart disease. Head of pediatrics at Scranton’s Moses Taylor Hospital, Dr. Mike Mirer says parents should ask their family doctor or pediatrician to do a simple blood test as early as 9 years old.

"Kids should be screened for high cholesterol between ages 9-11 and it has to be routine. However, if the family has a history of heart disease or cholesterol higher than 240, kids should be tested more often," Dr. Mike Mirer said.

To prevent childhood high cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity, it’s recommended that families avoid serving processed, fatty and fast foods in favor of fresh, healthy alternative and doctors say, kids need to be a lot more active.

"Children should exercise 60 minutes per day, eat healthy foods like vegetables and fruits in the right combinations with protein and carbohydrates, it's no special diet but just balanced and healthy," Dr. Mirer added.

Parents should also know their child’s Body Mass Index or BMI which assesses height and weight to estimate body fat. You can find BMI calculators online.

If changes in diet and exercise are not working, doctors might consider medication for some children with high cholesterol levels.

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