Parents Can’t Ignore Children’s High Cholesterol
Recently, a new survey found that one in five American children has unhealthy cholesterol levels, and more than eight percent have worrisome high cholesterol levels. Moreover, the National Center for Health Statistics found that 27 percent of 16 to 19 year olds had at least one measure of unhealthy cholesterol. Cholesterol levels in children are mostly linked to three different risk factors, which are family history, diet and obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends cholesterol screening for all children ages 9 to 11. Having high cholesterol (at any age) is a leading risk factor for heart disease and one that should be addressed and managed by a health care provider.
To help reduce or prevent your child’s high cholesterol, a well-balanced, healthy diet is key. Health care providers advise that nutrition for children is based upon the same principles as nutrition for adults - vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and fat. Based upon the 2010 dietary guidelines, here are great choices to incorporate in your child’s daily diet:
·Fruits: Fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruits are better choices than sugary fruit juices.
·Vegetables: Choose dark green, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas to add to daily meals.
·Protein: Provide a protein, such as seafood, poultry, lean meat, eggs, peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.
·Dairy: Choose fat-free and low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese.
·Grains: Whole grains, like whole wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, brown or wild rice and quinoa should be a daily part of you and your child’s diet.
Parents should also encourage children to be physically active each day. Regular aerobic exercise, like biking, walking and swimming, is recommended for 60 minutes a day. Some children reach the recommended amount through recess at school and after school activities. Participating in team sports is also a great way to encourage healthy lifestyles for children.
To help parents teach their children about healthy lifestyle choices, the nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program, Let’s Go, developed 5-2-1-0. It stands for five servings of fruits and vegetables, limiting screen time to two hours or less, one hour of physical activity and zero sugary drinks each day. Raising awareness for families in the Owasso community to make healthier choices is the focus of the Bailey Medical Center PLAY Program in partnership with Owasso Public Schools. To learn more click here.
To find a Utica Park Clinic health care provider near you, please call 918-579-DOCS (3627) or click here.