The unfortunate thing about our modern day lifestyle is that we are now faced with the task of lowering high triglycerides in kids. Not only are more than 30% of Americans struggling with high triglycerides, also known as hypertriglyceridemia, but so are children.
The number of children who have this problem is unknown because lipid panels, which measure the level of triglycerides, are seldom done in children. But, if your child is overweight, chances are his or her triglycerides are elevated.
In order to effectively lower high triglycerides in children, we need to first understand what has caused the problem to begin with. So, let’s start by looking at the causes of high triglycerides in kids.
Obesity in Children
Over 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight. And that number is growing daily. Being obese is a good predictor of high triglycerides. Consider that the fat in the body is actually stored triglycerides. Excess fat is excess triglycerides.
Eating more calories than you burn leads to high triglycerides. It doesn’t matter if the excess calories are from protein, fat or carbohydrates. Any calories that are extra get converted to triglycerides and stored as fat. So, it is essential for not take in more calories than he burns but also to lose an excess weight.
The Modern Day Diet
In today’s society, there are few home cooked meals. With our busy lifestyles, our mini-van has become our dining room as we feed our kids fast food from the drive-thru. When we do cook, we look for speed and convenience as we quickly prepare meals from boxes, packages and cans.
Fast food, junk food and most processed food leads not only to high triglycerides but it also increases cholesterol. And, children being fed these foods are being affected, too. Your child is not immune to developing high triglycerides or high cholesterol levels. There is no built-in protection against it.
To lower high triglycerides in kids, or to prevent them from occurring in the first place, you must provide your child with nutritious and home cooked meals. These are meals that are rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Limit or eliminate juice and soda. Juice and soda, which children certainly enjoy, are major causes of excess calories and overweight. Juice and soda are full of sugar and lacking in fiber. Offer whole fruit instead. Make water the drink of choice. And set a good example by drinking water yourself.
Get your child his own special water bottle. Be sure to have him fill it up and take it with him in the car every time you leave the house. This will eliminate the cries of ‘Mom, I’m thirsty!’ from the back seat.
Inactivity in Children
Another major cause of high triglycerides is a sedentary lifestyle. This applies to both children and adults. You must move to burn excess calories. You must exercise to lose weight. And so must your overweight child.
Even if your child is not overweight, daily activity is very important in not only preventing high triglycerides but also in establishing a lifetime habit of being active.
As a parent, you need to encourage your child to be active. Turn off the TV or computer. Set a good example. Take your child to group sports. Get her to the Y or the soccer field. Make walking, biking or roller-skating a family activity.
Where To Start
The first thing to do is to have your child tested. Ask your pediatrician to do a lipid panel on your child. Get a baseline. Don’t let your doctor tell you that your child is too young. Insist on it.
Once you have the test done, be sure to get a copy of the results. Even if the results are normal, share them with your child. Go over each one. Teach your child that preventing heart disease and diabetes starts in childhood.
If the test shows that the triglycerides are high, teach your child what this means. Discuss what caused the problem. Together with your child and the whole family, come up with a plan to lower the triglycerides. Discuss changes to your diet. Discuss losing weight and how you are going to do that. Discuss ways to get more exercise.
Lowering high triglycerides in kids must be a family effort. Support your child anyway you can. And your whole family will become healthier.