Children, as young as 8 years old, who are overweight are urged to have their cholesterol levels checked. This comes after the latest (July 07, 2008) American Academy of Pediatrics statement to see if these overweight children are already developing heart disease.
The test that is recommended is the fasting lipid profile where the measure of HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) of an overweight child is known. It is definitely recommended to kids who are overweight or obese who have a family history of diabetes or high blood pressure. It is for overweight children with no known family history of the diseases mentioned.
Those overweight children who are found to be at greatest risk for cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) problems may be prescribed treatment. This comes in the wake of the alarming statistics of the incidence of childhood obesity in the United States with 30 percent of American children in the obese category.
Doctors and researchers from the Academy of Pediatrics were quick to point out that a low-fat diet, regular exercise and other lifestyle modifications might be what the overweight or obese children only need to have their blood cholesterol levels be in normal or manageable levels. Those at greatest risk for the development of heart disease in their childhood may have to take cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) in addition to lifestyle modification that have been prescribed by their respective pediatricians.
This is a sad development for children in America and in nations that have seen those overweight and obese on the rise. Sedentary lifestyles have seen even children having to take cholesterol-lower drugs of their elders.
It is not too late for kids to develop healthy habits now so that they may live more healthy and productive lives in the future.