Alphabetic Guide to Child Care - Cholesterol


Cholesterol poses two types of problems in children. The first is a lack of cholesterol in children whose parents have kept them from infancy on low cholesterol diets. Parents should keep in mind that the body requires some cholesterol to function correctly and that the protein derived from meat and eggs is almost essential to growing bodies. Children who are not fed meat, dairy products, or eggs need to have the protein, amino acids, and other nutrients replaced by either pills or a very well balanced diet. Certain vitamins cannot be found in a vegetarian diet, such as one type of vitamin B. Children on restrictive low-fat, low-cholesterol diets can suffer growth failure and malnutrition unless the diet is supervised by a doctor.

The second problem is an extremely elevated cholesterol level. Although general testing of children for high cholesterol is not recommended, one statistic that proved reliable in spotting 9 out of 10 children with raised levels was the amount of television watched. Children who watched two or more hours of television a day were more likely to have cholesterol levels exceeding 200 mg. More importantly, less than half of those children who had raised levels and watched two hours of television came from families who had a history of high cholesterol. This means that these children are not from high-risk families, but they still manage to increase their cholesterol because of their eating patterns and lack of exercise in their daily routine. The flag that points to the problem is excessive TV viewing. Snacking while watching TV, and not exercising, are the suspected culprits.

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