Wellness

Fighting Against High Cholesterol in Teens

Teens cholesterol and health for teens

Did you know that one out of every five American teenagers has a high level of unhealthy cholesterol that may increase their risk for heart disease?

A report released in January 2010 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified that not only are overweight teens age 12 to 19 more likely to have high cholesterol, but 14 percent of normal-weight teens have elevated levels of bad cholesterol as well.

Heart disease is currently ranked as the No. 1 cause of death for American adults. Medical research has demonstrated that individuals with unhealthy cholesterol levels as children and teenagers often are diagnosed with heart disease as adults.

What’s the solution? Consider these tips from Kaiser Permanente Regional Health Education to help kids and teens keep bad cholesterol at a low level:

  • Reduce consumption of foods loaded with fat
    • Skip fried foods as well as those with cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise
    • Choose nonfat or low-fat foods
    • Drink water or milk instead of soda
    • Avoid foods with trans fats
    • Eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
    • Select options made with whole grains
  • Exercise at least one hour each day
  • Avoid tobacco products as they lower good cholesterol

The American Heart Association recommends that parents of overweight or obese teens talk with their doctor about having a cholesterol screening to identify any significant risk factors or health concerns.

How often do your kids exercise each day? What are your family’s favorite foods? – Karen Gustin, Ameritas Group

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