High cholesterol is a health problem that plagues both adults and children nationwide. While it is most commonly found in adults, it can greatly impact children as well. If gone untreated, high cholesterol can lead to a stroke or heart attack. These are some of the biggest health risks an individual can face in their lives, but high cholesterol can be prevented. Here are the two biggest causes of high cholesterol in children.
Unfortunately, high cholesterol can be hereditary. For children with parents or grandparents that struggle with high cholesterol, they should take extra steps to combat the disease. From a young age, these children should watch what they eat as well as how much physical activity is part of their daily lives. Being conscious of eating healthy and exercise can help prevent high cholesterol and the problems it brings.
When children have healthy habits at a young age, they are likely to continue them into adulthood. This can greatly decrease the chances of developing high cholesterol in children. Any food with significant amounts of trans fats, sugar or salt should be avoided when trying to maintain a healthy level of cholesterol. Examples of food to avoid include microwave popcorn, baked goods, and salted pretzels.
Children of parents without cholesterol problems can still develop high cholesterol. The second major cause of this problem is obesity. Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States. While obesity brings its own problems and challenges, it can also lead to other major health issues.
A combination of poor eating habits and not enough exercise can lead directly to weight gain. Three or more meals a day full of unhealthy foods paired with a sedentary lifestyle is a dangerous combination. In just a year or two, children can put on too much weight and end up with high cholesterol. Then, to reduce the cholesterol levels, children need to lose a significant amount of weight in addition to just watching what they eat.
Knowing the causes of high cholesterol in children can help prevent and fix this problem. The key to high cholesterol is managing eating and exercising habits before cholesterol becomes an issue. If your family has a history of high cholesterol or if your child is obese, watch out for signs of this problem developing. The quicker you take action to manage or lower cholesterol, the better.