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AAP supports universal cholesterol screening in children

Posted Jul 13 2010 8:46am

by kiwilog

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High cholesterol isn’t something most people worry about until they’re well into adulthood, but all children should have their cholesterol tested, too, say new guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The recommendations are based on a new study analyzing more than 20,000 fifth graders in West Virginia, which found elevated cholesterol levels in nearly 10 percent of children who did not have a family history of high cholesterol. (Equally scary? 71 percent of children examined did meet the guidelines for cholesterol screening based on family history.) In response, the AAP now recommends screening children with a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, as well as children whose family history is unknown after age 2 but not past age 10. 

Whether or not high cholesterol’s a concern in your family, there are plenty of steps you can take to protect your child’s heart:

  • Eat well. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Stay active. Regular physical activity lowers bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol. Instead of watching television after dinner, encourage your family to take a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Say yes to fiber. It actually acts as a sponge to collect cholesterol in the arteries. So opt for whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and 100 percent whole wheat bread.

-Marygrace, KIWI staff writer

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