A diagnosis of high cholesterol in a child can be an upsetting thing. However, it does happen. Diet, obesity and/or heredity are the three primary reasons for high cholesterol in children. There are ways of dealing with this and getting it under control.
Change of Diet
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Improving eating habits is an important step in lowering cholesterol. Part of that means limiting fat and cholesterol intake.
- Saturated fat should not exceed 7% of a child’s daily calorie intake.
- Trans fat, which is common in things such as fast food and prepackaged snack foods, should be strictly limited if not entirely avoided.
- A child with high cholesterol should not consume more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol daily.
Just as the wrong foods can increase the LDL cholesterol, which is commonly known as the “bad” sort, so too can the right foods raise the “good” HDL cholesterol. Fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts can all help with this.
Some ways to get a child more interested in healthy foods include:
- Choose a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables.
- Get your child involved in picking out the foods.
- Cut foods into interesting shapes to increase interest from a reluctant child.
- Involve your child in food prep.
A sedentary lifestyle is an unhealthy way of life in general. Getting up and moving is important for everyone. It is especially beneficial, though, for a child who needs to improve his or her cholesterol. Regular aerobic exercise can boost HDL levels.
Some ways to get a child more active:
- Go swimming.
- Get him or her involved in a team sport.
- Take walks together as a family.
Get Weight Under Control
If your child’s trouble with high cholesterol is connected with obesity, it will be important for him or her to lose weight. Fortunately, following the steps of changing to a healthier diet and getting exercise on a regular basis should help lead to the needed weight loss.
It’s a Family Thing
When making changes, do not limit them just to the child. This can make your child feel singled out and isolated. This will likely undermine any changes that you are trying to make.
Plus, children with high cholesterol often come from families were one or more family members have it or are at significant risk for it. Convincing a child to lead a healthy lifestyle while other family members are not delivers a very clear message that eating well and exercising are really not important. In fact, your child may view them as some sort of punishment.
Your child’s cholesterol can be gotten under control. Turn this into an opportunity to encourage a healthier lifestyle for your child that will, hopefully, last a lifetime.