A new report found that approximately 20 percent of children in the United States have problems with their cholesterol levels, such as low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol or high levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. (HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein and LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein)
Researchers found that 7.9 percent of children ages 6 to 19 have cholesterol levels of 200 milligrams per decilitre or more, which classifies as high level of total cholesterol.
Children who are obese are more likely to have high total cholesterol levels, according to the researchers. Among the children in the study who had a normal body weight, 6.3 percent had high total cholesterol levels, compared with 11.6 percent of obese children.
Girls also tend to have more high total cholesterol levels than boys, the report found. Almost nine percent of the girls had higher levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, compared with only six percent of boys.
However, the most common cholesterol problem among children was not the high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, but rather the low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol. Their levels of HDL cholesterol were bellow 40 milligrams per decilitre. On average, about 13.4 percent of the children had lower than normal levels of HDL cholesterol, but the percentage was much higher in children who were obese.
According to the report, a staggering 33 percent of obese children had low levels of HDL cholesterol, as opposed to 6.8 percent of children who had a normal weight.
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as abnormal cholesterol levels, can go from childhood into adulthood. To prevent heart disease in adulthood, cholesterol levels have to be monitored among children and young adults, the researchers said.
The America Academy of Pediatrics stated that children ages 9 to 11 should have their cholesterol levels checked.
The Mayo Clinic said that high cholesterol levels among kids can be treated with lifestyle changes, such as healthy diets, weight loss, and increased exercise. There is a possibility that children will see no changes in their cholesterol levels even after taking these steps. In that case they should consult with their doctor and take medications to help treat their condition, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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