Friday, April 18, 2014

Many Kids May Have High Cholesterol

About one of three Texas kids screened for cholesterol between the ages of 9 and 11 had borderline or high cholesterol, potentially placing them at greater risk for future cardiovascular disease a new study has found.
Friday, March 28, 2014 (WebMD News from HealthDay)

Obese kids were more likely to have abnormal cholesterol levels, but a large percentage of normal-weight children also had borderline or high cholesterol, said lead investigator Dr. Thomas Seery, a pediatric cardiologist at Texas Children’s Hospital and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston.

“The reality is that 35 percent of kids who were not obese had abnormal cholesterol as well,” Seery said. Physicians and parents need to teach kids healthy habits, such as eating right and exercising regularly, or as adults they will me more likely to suffer heart disease and stroke, he said. “Cardiovascular disease in children is rare, but we know that atherosclerosis has its beginnings in childhood,” Seery said. “The better a job we do now, the better they will do later in life.”

Previous studies have indicated that as many as 70 percent of children who have elevated cholesterol levels maintained those high levels as they entered young adulthood, said Dr. Patricia Vuguin, a pediatric endocrinologist at Cohen Children’s medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. “Your cholesterol at 9 is a reflection of where your cholesterol is going to be in your 40s and 50s,” Vuguin said.

Seery and his colleagues undertook their research after new guidelines for juvenile cholesterol screening were issued by the U.S. National Hear, Lung, and blood Institute in 2011 and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

These screenings present “the perfect opportunity for clinicians and parents to discuss the importance of healthy lifestyle choices on cardiovascular health.” he said. “Our findings give a compelling reason to screen all kids’ blood cholesterol.”

I like the concept of discussing “healthy lifestyle choices” with parents and children. However, the standard American diet (SAD) has condemned fat for the past 30 years promoting refined carbohydrates and processed foods. This is why cardiovascular disease is on the rise. It has little or nothing to do with cholesterol levels.

High cholesterol as a cause of heart disease has never been supported by research. High fat intake as a cause of heart disease is also not supported by the literature. Over 50 percent of people suffering their first heart attack have normal or even low cholesterol.

The elevated cholesterol in our youth is mostly because the medical norms have gradually been lowered over the course of the past 30 years. Beyond that true elevated cholesterol is most commonly associated with a diet high in trans-fats. The second most common cause is an underactive thyroid, not heart disease. The third is the presence of harmful bacteria in the gut.

“Low fat” or “reduced fat” foods have been developed over the past 30 years in response to the myth that fat is bad. The result is food that has been processed to remove the healthy fat and replace it with trans-fats. Butter is a very healthy fat – Margarine is a very unhealthy fat. However, the total fat content of margarine is lower than butter, so it is touted as being healthy. By trying to reduce our fat intake we have dramatically increased the rate of heart disease.

Encourage your children to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Lead by example and avoid the processed foods as much as possible. Don’t buy into the cholesterol myth. That is just an elaborate ploy to sell statin drugs. If you decide to screen your child for cholesterol, run a glycohemoglobin A1c as well to see if they are insulin resistant. That’s where the heart issues begin.