What are acceptable cholesterol levels for my child?
LDL (bad) cholesterol should be below 110 mg/dL
HDL (good) cholesterol greater than 35 mg/dL (above 60 mg/dl is cardio-protective)
0-9 years old – less than 75
10-19 years old – less than 90
Total cholesterol should be below 170 mg/dL
You should return with your child in 3 months to have a fasting lipid panel repeated. It is best to schedule that appointment now.
What affects blood cholesterol levels? Many factors. Some you cannot change, like heredity, age, and gender. But others are related to lifestyle habits and you can change them!
What you eat – a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol can raise your blood cholesterol
What you weigh – being overweight can make your LDL cholesterol and your HDL cholesterol low.
What you do – increased physical activity helps increase your HDL cholesterol
How can I help my child lower their cholesterol?
Prepare foods low in saturated fats like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean red meats, poultry without skin, low-fat/skim dairy products, lean fish/shellfish, and beans/peas.
Limit foods high in saturated fats & cholesterol like whole milk, cream, ice cream, butter, egg yolk, cheese, organ meats (liver, sweetbreads), high-fat processed meats (sausage, bologna, salami, hot dogs), fatty red meats that aren’t trimmed, duck and goose.
Encourage physical activity every day. Aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, bicycle riding, swimming, and roller-skating are great.
Discourage cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking on its own is a risk factor for heart disease. It also causes HDL cholesterol to drop.
Be a role model. Not only do you set a good example, but eating right, getting plenty of physical activity, and not smoking are good for your heart health too!!