Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Doctors want to test kids for cholesterol

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 14th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's no secret that American kids are eating worse and gaining weight. Poor food choices and the lack of exercise are making formally adult concerns relevant for children. Among those concerns, is  cholesterol. A panel of medical experts is now recommending that kids have their cholesterol checked at least once between ages nine and 11, and again between the ages of 17 and 21.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nobody is suggesting that children are at risk for heart attacks, but experts are saying that chronic problems with high cholesterol and heart disease often begin early in life. Detecting those problems earlier will allow doctors to intervene and prevent the onset of more serious conditions later in life.

It has been suggested that doctors start evaluating kids for any signs of heart disease. The recommendations have been made in a report sponsored by the US federal government that evaluates heart risk management in children. The guidelines for children were developed by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, and have been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Nationwide, heart specialists and pediatricians are welcoming the guidelines saying that they are long overdue.

The guidelines were published on Friday in the journal, Pediatrics. They were based on a wide range of childhood risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors go beyond high blood pressure and weight.

Doctor Stephen R. Daniels, pediatrician-in-chief at Children's Hospital Colorado said, "Heart disease is the number one cause of death in our society. We know the process that leads to those deaths begins in childhood. We also know that people who are able to maintain a low risk to childhood and early adulthood have a lower risk. If they can reach age 50 with low risk status, they are very unlikely to have heart disease. That is the payoff here."

Pediatricians have noticed a substantial increase in the rates of obesity for children, and it is widely believed that the increased incidence of obesity will lead to a far greater number of heart disease cases in adults over the years to come.

Approximately 1/3 of all American children are overweight or obese, which is almost 3 times the rate it was in 1963.

Regardless of whether or not children should be tested for cholesterol, old wisdom still applies. Children should eat plenty of healthy, fresh foods including vegetables. In addition, they should get ample amounts of physical exercise, preferably outdoors. Participation in sports, and other structured physical activity is also encouraged.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)