High Cholesterol in Children: How to Help Lower your Child’s Blood Cholesterol

Like adults, children do have high cholesterol levels, which can lead to many serious health problems when they get older. High blood cholesterol leads to the formation of plaque on the artery walls and block the flow of blood to your body. High blood cholesterol is the main cause of heart disease, strokes and heart attacks.

Causes of high cholesterol in children:

High blood cholesterol in children are mainly associated with three factors. They are heredity, obesity and diet. In many cases, children with high blood cholesterol have a parent with elevated cholesterol levels.

Help lower your child’s blood cholesterol:

You can encourage the following points to your child and help lowering the level of cholesterol.

  • Consume only foods low in cholesterol, saturated fat and total fat. The amount of fat children can eat should be not more than 30% of daily total calories (ie.45-65 gms of fat daily). This suggestion is for those child who are above the age of 2 years.
  • Children in between 12 months to 2 years of age, with a family history of high cholesterol, obesity and cardiovascular disease, or who are overweight are recommended to use reduced-fat milk.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Regular physical activity or exercise should encourage to children. Regular aerobic exercise like cycling, running, swimming and walking can raise HDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Use only unsaturated fat like olive oil, peanut oil and canola oil, instead of saturated fat.
  • Include a variety of foods in your child’s diet in order to get all the nutrients required by the body.

Maintaining a proper diet along with regular exercise programme may be the most effective way for treating high cholesterol in children. If changes in diet along with exercise cannot bring the desired effect, children above the age of 8 years may consider taking medicines. Some of the cholesterol-lowering drugs for children are colestipol, cholestyramine and colesevelam.

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