High Cholesterol in Children
(Hypercholesterolemia in Children)
|Blockages in the blood vessels can lead to heart attacks.|
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- A high-fat diet and low activity levels
- Being overweight or obese
- Being prone to high cholesterol due to your genes
- Having a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease or stroke
- Having high blood pressure
- Having certain conditions (eg, diabetes, kidney disease , underactive thyroid)
- Some medicines (eg, steroids, isotretinoin [acne medicine], beta-blockers, protease inhibitors, diuretics, cyclosporin)
- 2-8 years old— no screening needed unless there are risk factors
- 9-11 years old—should be screened at least once
- 12-17 years old—no screening needed unless there are risk factors
- 17-21 years old—should be screened at least once
- Total cholesterol (the total amount of cholesterol in the blood)
- HDL—good cholesterol
- LDL —bad cholesterol
- Triglycerides (type of fat that can also help predict the risk of future heart disease)
- Ask about your child’s symptoms.
- Take your child’s medical history.
- Do a physical exam.
- Choose healthy drinks . Opt for water and fat-free milk. Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks.
- Focus on fruits and vegetables , low-fat dairy products, and high- fiber food (eg, whole grains).
- Choose foods low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol .
- Eat low- sodium foods.
- Pay attention to portion size .
- Eat breakfast every day. Have meals together as a family.
- Limit meals from fast food restaurants
- Registered dietitian
- Weight loss center
- Cardiologist (especially if statins may need to be prescribed)
- Encourage your child to participate in moderate or vigorous exercise every day. Examples include running, doing gymnastics, or playing soccer.
- Limit the amount of time your child spends in front of a screen. This includes watching TV, playing video games, or using the computer. Aim for less than two hours in front of a screen per day.
- Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- If your child is overweight, follow a safe weight loss program. Use a program recommended by your doctor or dietitian.
- Encourage your child to participate in physical activity on a regular basis.
- Talk to your child about the dangers of smoking.
- Be a good role model for your child. For example, eat healthy food and participate in physical activities as a family.
American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org/
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca/home/index%5Fe.aspx/
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com/
Cholesterol levels in children and adolescents. American Academy of Pediatrics, Healthy Children.org website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Cholesterol-Levels-in-Children-and-Adolescents.aspx . Updated December 21, 2011. Accessed June 27, 2012.
High cholesterol levels in children. American Academy of Pediatrics, Healthy Children.org website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/nutrition/Pages/High-Cholesterol-Levels-in-Children.aspx . Updated January 17, 2012. Accessed June 27, 2012.
Hypercholesterolemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated May 17, 2012. Accessed June 27, 2012.
NHLBI integrated guidelines for pediatric cardiovascular risk reduction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated February 28, 2012. Accessed June 19, 2012.
Nutrition and health for young people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/nutrition/facts.htm. Updated January 20 , 2012. Accessed June 27, 2012.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 07/2012
- Update Date: 07/13/2012