Friday, February 27, 2009

Do Children Have High Blood Cholesterol?

About 1 in 5 Singaporean have high blood cholesterol, as reported by a 2004 National Health Survey. Perhaps, these people should be blamed for their love of artery-clogging foods. In fact, some of these people are just teenagers. For example, there is a 13 year-old pupil has a cholesterol level of 320 mg/dl, will you believe?

The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines stipulated that the acceptable cholesterol level for children and teenagers aged 2 to 19 should be below 170 mg/dl, while the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol should be kept under 110 mg/dl. LDL is also known as the bad cholesterol that increases the risk of cholesterol deposits within the walls of blood vessels.

It is not uncommon that children or teenagers, like adults, can have high blood cholesterol. As no official figures are available presently on the number of children with high cholesterol, not many parents are aware of the problem.

High blood cholesterol can be a silent killer because the bad effects do not show immediately but much later in life. Therefore, many parents do not realize the danger behind this. In fact, it has been linked to coronary heart disease and stroke. The earlier a person has high cholesterol, the more health problems he or she will encounter in the future.

In general, high blood cholesterol level is due to excessive consumption of foods high in cholesterol, saturated and trans fats. Nevertheless, genes and family history could also be the cause for high cholesterol in young patients. According to the figures provided by Health Promotion Board (HPB), it affects 9.5 percent of Singaporean children.

A recently study, published by National University Hospital (NUH), on 250 severely obese Singaporean children revealed that more than one-third of these children had high LDL cholesterol levels.

Does this mean that all parents must send their kids for cholesterol screen? Not really, parents should start by watching their child’s diet from the time they were young.

Parents should limit their children’s cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg per day and saturated and trans fats intake to less than 10 and 1 percent of their total daily calorie intake respectively. These recommendations are for children aged 2 and above.

Moreover, parents should encourage their children to adopt positive healthy practices, such as regular exercise and healthy diet as these can help prevent obesity and other chronic conditions like diabetes later in their life.

1 comment:

  1. maggie.danhakl@healthline.com12:55 PM


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