Cholesterol is something that only middle-aged adults need to worry about, right? Not so.

Screenings are now recommended for kids 9-11 years of age per the American Academy of Pediatrics updated well-child guidelines. Why? Because high cholesterol among kids is a growing issue and getting a head start before your children become teenagers, may reduce heart, cardiovascular or other health issues down the road. And we all know that heart disease is a big issue for us older folks.
And, having high cholesterol can be in a child’s genes. Identifying children at risk at an early age can make a big difference down the road.

Skeptic? It’s in the Numbers

The new screening recommendations have their share of skeptics, many of whom say it’s just too young for kids to be tested for what is largely an adult health issue. But a recent study provides good reason to get the screening.

Based on a review of 13,000 pediatric charts of preteens in Texas, it was found that 1 in 3 had borderline or high cholesterol. Wow. These kids have no idea what clogged arteries mean yet they are showing early signs that may lead to just that.

While it’s true that obese children in the study were more likely to have high cholesterol, many normal weight children showed worrying levels, too.

Little Changes

No, your child probably won’t need to start Lipitor, or any other cholesterol lowering drug. Rather, if your child has high cholesterol, your doc may simply want to monitor it or recommend some lifestyle tweaks—more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.

And if mom and dad have high cholesterol too, well, a few healthier changes will help everyone in the family. Living healthy takes a team.