One in five American children experience cholesterol problems states a newly released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.
Approximately 21 percent of American children have high levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or low levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL). Referred to as bad cholesterol and good cholesterol, LDL and HDL levels are crucial in understanding health risks with children and teenagers.
According to the report, one in five American children experience cholesterol problems. Overall, in the age group 6 to 19, 7.4 percent of the children have high levels of total cholesterol (LDL+HDL+triglycerides). This suggests that the overall cholesterol levels exceeded 200mg/dl.
When accounting for obesity, the researchers found that high cholesterol levels are more prevalent in this category. 11.6 percent of the obese children had high total cholesterol levels. 6.3 percent of the children who weren’t obese had high cholesterol levels.
The findings of the study also suggest cholesterol levels were very different when sex was taken into account. Girls had higher chances of total high cholesterol levels than boys, with 8.9 percent compared to 5.9 percent. However, fewer girls were found to have low HDL cholesterol levels compared to boys, with 12 percent at 14.8 percent.
According to the CDC report, the low levels of HDL is the most worrying finding. Most of the participants in the study had HDL cholesterol levels under 40mg/dl. The study highlighted the overall number of children having low HDL cholesterol levels to be at 13.4 percent. In addition, 33 percent of obese children had low HDL cholesterol levels. By comparison, 6.8 percent of the normal weight children had low HDL cholesterol levels.
One in five American children experience cholesterol problems, with the CDC report stating that at least one cholesterol measure yields abnormal values. As for teenagers aged 16 to 19 years old, their cholesterol measures indicated that 26.9 percent have either low HDL cholesterol levels or high total cholesterol levels.
High total cholesterol levels in addition to low HDL cholesterol levels represent risk factors for a number of health complications, including heart disease. These measures should be constantly tracked as they usually transit from childhood into adulthood if left unchecked.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines according to which all children in the age group 9-11 should be monitored constantly for cholesterol measures. During a physician visit, their cholesterol levels should be checked. If any abnormal values are detected, the children should be recalled for a check-up visit. Following the results, the physician should guide the children and the family to lifestyle changes or in the case of a medical cause, medication.
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