We now know that the atherosclerotic process, or buildup of fatty plaque in arteries, begins in childhood and continues slowly into adulthood where it often results in coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
450,000 Americans die every year from coronary heart disease despite significant progress in reducing deaths in the past two decades. Many adults discharged from hospitals with coronary heart disease have children who may also be at risk and would benefit from early diagnosis and prevention treatments.
Evidence shows that:
Genetics can affect your cholesterol levels, Know your health history. A prevention program such as good eating habits developed in childhood can affect blood cholesterol levels and the risk of coronary heart disease.
High cholesterol levels in children may develop into atherosclerosis in later years.
Lowering cholesterol levels in children may be beneficial as they age.
Cigarette smoking should be strongly discouraged.
Children should be encouraged to participate in regular aerobic exercise programs.
High blood pressure should be diagnosed and treated.
Weight should be managed closely.
Diabetes mellitus should be diagnosed and treated.
What should cholesterol levels be in children?
The total cholesterol level (mg/dL) in children and adolescents 2 – 19 years old:
less than 170 = acceptable
170 to 199 = borderline
200 or higher = high
LDL cholesterol (mg/dL)
less than 110 = acceptable
110 to 129 = borderline
130 or higher = high