Kids and High Cholesterol: What Every Parent Should Know
Did you know that about 7% of kids and teenagers in the U.S., aged 6 to 19, deal with high cholesterol levels?
Crazy, right? But before you start picturing little ones sipping on green smoothies, let’s break this down in everyday lingo.
So, cholesterol—it’s like this fatty stuff in our bodies. We need it to build cell walls and make a few hormones. It’s essential for our health, but here’s the kicker: having too much of it is a big no-no. It’s like that stuff can stick to the inside of your arteries, clogging them up over time. Think of it as slow traffic on the highway, but in your blood vessels.
Usually, this whole high cholesterol thing is more of an adult problem. It takes years to build up. But here’s the twist: it’s becoming a concern for kids too. Studies say that as many as 1 in 5 kids already have high cholesterol. And guess what? If we don’t tackle it early, it can stick around into adulthood, causing even more trouble.
So, why do kids get high cholesterol? Well, there are three big reasons: genes, grub, and that four-letter word—fat.
Genes: Sometimes, it’s in the family genes. If a parent has it, their kids might get it too. Not their fault, though! But knowing this early helps parents keep an eye on it.
Diet: What’s on the menu matters. Foods dripping with fat are usually loaded with cholesterol. So, maybe swap out the chips for some fruits, veggies, fish, and lighter dairy stuff.
Obesity: Yup, that ‘O’ word. It’s like a tag-along with a bad diet, but some kids just have a knack for putting on weight. Encouraging them to get moving can help.
Now, why does high cholesterol matter for kids? Well, it messes with your arteries, making them narrow and hard. That’s like setting the stage for some serious stuff: heart issues, strokes, high blood pressure, and more. Yep, even kids can face these health hurdles.
In 2017-2020, almost 20% of kids and teens were dealing with obesity, affecting about 14.7 million of them. It’s a thing that doesn’t play favorites and can be more common in certain groups.
So, yeah, high cholesterol in kids is no small deal. But the good news is that knowing about it early and making some changes can help kids grow up healthier. Let’s keep those arteries flowing free and clear!