Cholesterol concerns with children

Published On: Mar 28 2014 01:31:40 PM EDT

It's not just an adult concern anymore.  Cholesterol is a rising problem with kids. A new study finds about 1 in every 3 kids between the ages of 9 and 11 has borderline or high cholesterol.

"Almost a third, 30%, had some elevation in a cholesterol marker, whether it be total cholesterol, LDL bad cholesterol, low good cholesterol, or elevated triglycerides," explained Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist Dr. Michael Rocco about the study done by Texas Children's Hospital.

Researchers examined the medical records of nearly 13,000 children ages 9 to 11. All of them had cholesterol screenings as part of a routine physical exam.

They found boys were more likely than girls to have higher total cholesterol, higher LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, and high triglycerides. Results also show girls had lower HDL, or "good" cholesterol levels.

"I think it's important to screen early because in pre-puberty and during puberty cholesterol levels actually drop. So, screening earlier may give us a better representation of where cholesterol levels are going to be as an adult," said Rocco.

Researchers say that although cardiovascular disease in children is rare, the presence of certain risk factors, like high cholesterol, can increase the chances of developing heart disease as adult.  But, Rocco says this is not about putting children on cholesterol-lowering medications.

"It's about identifying children that could benefit from activity guidelines, good education in terms of food choices, and weight reduction when appropriate," he said.

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