Children can have high cholesterol, although it belongs to the category of abnormalities. One way or another, when a child gets older, he willfully feels the consequences of excess cholesterol in the blood, so the problem must be dealt with from the very beginning.
What can cause high cholesterol in a child?
When it comes to high cholesterol, a variety of lipoproteins (low-density lipoproteins) is implied. They are considered bad cholesterol. LDL concentration rises with malnutrition and associated bad habits: smoking, drinking alcohol, low mobility, etc.
If the child is not from a dysfunctional family, which of this list can be threatened? There are at least three risk factors:
- diet – the predominance of fatty and sweet foods in the diet;
Researchers claim that in children with elevated LDL cholesterol, one of the parents also suffered from an excess of cholesterol in the blood. Bad eating habits that children adopted from their parents are superimposed on this. Frequent snacks, unconscious food intake, etc. All this leads to obesity and increased cholesterol.
A blood test for high cholesterol in a child
Suspicion of hyperlipidemia in children occurs in early or middle school age. Usually, in this case, a biochemical blood test is taken for cholesterol, which is done in any children’s clinic.
The National Institute of Heart, Lung, and Blood Diseases at the American Pediatric Academy recommends that all children between the ages of 9 and 11 be tested for high cholesterol. The second test should be done in 17-21 years.
Additional risk factors are:
- continuous exposure to tobacco smoke (second-hand smoke) in the family;
- type 1 or type 2 diabetes;
- high blood pressure and congenital heart disease.
For overweight or obese children with high blood fats or low HDL cholesterol, the main treatment is weight control. Improving diet with nutritional counseling and increased physical activity. In children more often than in adults, borderline cholesterol is observed, so it is much easier to return to normal.
How to treat children with high cholesterol?
The best way to treat hyperlipidemia in children is to give up junk food and exercise, in which the whole family should participate. The children’s body is more plastic than that of an adult, in order to rebuild it in the direction of health without medication.
Limit fatty foods. The total amount of fat consumed by the child should be no more than 30% of the total daily amount of calories. This rule does not apply to children under 2 years old. The amount of saturated fat, in this case, should be approximately 10% in the daily diet. Trans fats should be avoided completely. For children at high risk (1 and 2 degrees of obesity), saturated fats should be even less – about 5%.
Diet should be varied and balanced. Food should contain fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood in various combinations;
Drawing up the daily routine. Several days a week for at least an hour physical activity should be allocated. Regular aerobic exercises: cycling, running, outdoor games, walking in the park help to increase HDL levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
An example of a healthy daily diet for a child:
- For breakfast: fruits, oatmeal, or low-fat yogurt (sugar-free). Use skimmed or one percent milk instead of whole milk when cooking;
- For lunch and dinner: baked in the oven, stewed or boiled. Soup, roast chicken or beef, fish or steamed meatballs. Also add whole grains, cereals (buckwheat, rice) and legumes (peas, beans) to the diet. Nutritionists do not recommend eating eggs to people who suffer from high cholesterol;
- Drinks: tea, natural juices. Soda should be completely avoided, even with sweeteners, as well as power engineers.
Remember to monitor your cholesterol levels throughout your diet. It is advisable to take blood tests a month after its start, then another six months later and a year later, observing all the recommendations of the attending physician. If these measures are not enough, and LDL indicators have not returned to normal values, you will have to resort to medical assistance.
It is also very important to teach children the discipline of eating foods. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – all at one time