A new study shows young children with high cholesterol levels are more likely to develop high cholesterol in later childhood and adulthood. Researchers studied the eating habits and cholesterol levels of nearly 450 preschool children for about five years. The children were examined by doctors and had their HDL, or good cholesterol, and LDL, or bad cholesterol, measured periodically.
Results of the study show children with the highest levels of cholesterol at 3 and 4 years old also had the highest levels five years later. Those with levels in the top 10 percent remained in the top 10 percent at the end of the study. Children with slightly elevated cholesterol levels (levels measuring about 164 milligrams per deciliter) were five-times more likely to have high cholesterol by the time they reached 8 years old.
Authors of the study say their findings prove good eating habits aimed to lower cholesterol levels should begin early in life . "Preventing coronary heart disease can begin as early as 3 and 4 years of age. It is during these years that primary intervention may be most effective."
Monitoring children's cholesterol is important, especially since high cholesterol can put them at risk for developing heart disease later in life.
"Autopsy studies in children have found that precursors of coronary heart disease, such as fatty streaks and lesions in the arteries, are associated with cholesterol and other fats in the blood."