Cholesterol and Your Child
Most parents probably don't think about what cholesterol means for their kids. But high levels of cholesterol are a major factor contributing to heart disease and stroke, and medical research shows that cardiovascular disease has its roots in childhood. And with the dramatic increase in childhood obesity, more and more kids are at risk.
Problems associated with high cholesterol generally don't show up for years, so making the connection between kids' health and cholesterol can be difficult. But it's important to know your child's cholesterol levels, especially if there's a family history of high cholesterol or premature heart disease.
Identifying high cholesterol now will let you and your doctor work together to make changes that will lower your child's risk of developing heart disease later.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver. It's one of the lipids, or fats, the body makes and is used to form cell membranes and some hormones.
If you never ate another bowl of ice cream or another cheeseburger, your body would have enough cholesterol to run smoothly. That's because the liver makes enough for healthy body function. In fact, the liver produces about 1,000 milligrams of cholesterol a day. The rest comes from the foods we eat.
Although vegetables, fruits, and grains don't have any cholesterol, these foods from animals do:
- egg yolks
- dairy products (including milk, cheese, and ice cream)
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