Doctors have always listened to a child's heart routinely in every exam, but now the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending they take a closer look at cholesterol levels, starting at age nine.
This comes after doctors at Texas Children's Hospital studied 12,000 cholesterol samples from kids aged nine to 11, and were surprised to find how many of those were not normal.
"37% of children have cholesterol that falls in an abnormal range, whether it be elevated, or a larger percentage which are in the borderline range," says Pediatric Cardiologist Thomas Seery.
"We know that plaque buildup, atherosclerosis, is a lifelong process, so it's very reasonable to assume that healthy behaviors affect that throughout life," Michael Miedema with the Minneapolis Heart Institute.
Doctors' caution, that all the kids in the study were from Houston, so they don't know if these results can be applied nationwide. And they also don't know if the samples were from kids with risk factors like obesity.
What they do know, is that high cholesterol can start early. But rather than medicate kids, there's proof healthy habits can prevent the problem.
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