The most recent clinical reports on childhood cholesterol from leading paediatricians emphasise the role of cholesterol testing in maintaining a child’s cardiovascular health.
These reports actually replace previous understandings of the same concern that was expressed more than ten years ago. The new research was prompted by the noticeable increase in childhood obesity, which increased the risk for other health concerns, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases can develop during childhood
Concern also stems from the fact that research over the past 40 years has indicated that cardiovascular diseases in adults seem to come from conditions developed and acquired during childhood.
It has been suggested that overweight or obese children from two years of age and above be screened for to cholesterol, specifically with a fasting cholesterol test. However, it may be too difficult for a child of two to fast for 14 hours before the test, and the drawing of blood may be stressful for an infant.
Is testing necessary?
Is the test absolutely necessary? The answer is not clear. Many parents feel that they would like to try other options first before pumping children with pills. Who knows, the solution to childhood obesity and high cholesterol may well be simply turning off the TV and taking away the games and other passive activities. Whatever happened to a good old game of kick and catch in the backyard and wrestling on the lawn? It may be time to re-think the activities our children engage in and move on from there.
Take early precautions
Perhaps parents should become more aware of the risks of overweight children and take the necessary steps to contain a child's weight as soon as they see that the child is becoming overweight.
In some instances, especially if there is a family history of cholesterol, it may be worthwhile to the child tested for cholesterol at the earliest possible time. If the test results reveal that the child has high cholesterol, a prescription of cholesterol-lowering medication may be given if he or she is eight years and older.