Cholesterol Checks Should Start in Childhood

If you are a parent concerned about the health of your child, you may have wondered when your child should start having her cholesterol checked. Unfortunately, research is revealing that cardiovascular diseases have their start in childhood. These findings have resulted in new guidelines for cholesterol checking…

New Guidelines Urge Cholesterol Check for All Kids Ages 9 to 11

All U.S. children between the ages of 9 and 11 should be screened for high cholesterol, according to new guidelines endorsed by the nation’s leading group of pediatricians.

The recommendations are a major shift from current guidelines that suggest such testing be done only for children who have a family history of heart disease or high blood cholesterol, which is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

Meant to improve children’s heart health and reduce their future risk of cardiovascular disease, the new guidelines also recommend that children and young adults have their cholesterol levels checked again between the ages of 17 and 21.

In addition to more widespread screening for cardiovascular trouble at younger ages, the guidelines suggest parents make healthy lifestyle choices for their children, such as breast-feeding, a diet low in saturated beginning at age 1, regular physical activity and protecting children from tobacco smoke.

These guidelines will soon be published in the online journal of Pediatrics. In the meantime, you can have your child’s cholesterol checked.  Discuss this with your pediatrician.

You can also begin to help your children develop dietary and lifestyle habits that can lead to a lifetime of health and wellness.

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