As published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 1 in 5 children and teens in the U.S. have abnormal lipid levels. This was demonstrated by blood levels that revealed too much bad cholesterol (LDL), too little good cholesterol (HDL), or too much fat (triglycerides). These abnormal levels increase the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. In the study, almost half of obese children had abnormal blood levels. This is alarming, as obesity is increasing so rapidly in this country. The CDC reports that over the past 30 years childhood obesity has increased from 5% to 17%.
What should we do?
The current recommendation is to screen children and adolescents with a blood test. Your child may need to be screened if they are overweight or obese, if they have high blood pressure, if they smoke cigarettes or have diabetes. Family history of cholesterol problems, early cardiovascular disease, or an unknown family history are risk factors as well. If an abnormality is detected, lifestyle modification with exercise and healthy eating is the first-line treatment.
Hopefully, by treating abnormal lipid levels during childhood, the lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease can be reduced.
All information given is not a substitute for the advice of your pediatrician, primary care provider or trained health professional. Always consult with your pediatrician or health care professional.