High Cholesterol In Teenagers – Preventing Health Problems
A study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that one in five teens have high cholesterol levels. The study showed that both overweight teens and teens within their ideal weight range are at risk of having a higher cholesterol count.
Higher levels of cholesterol lead to heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in adults living in the United States. Although genetics play a large role in the cholesterol level of teenagers, a high fat diet that lacks adequate fiber and protein, lack of exercise, obesity, and smoking all contribute to a rise in cholesterol.
Good and Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood stream. High amounts of bad cholesterol (Low Density Lipoproteins) build up in the arterial walls forming fatty deposits that begin to harden over time, clogging the arteries.
Good cholesterol (High Density Lipoproteins) is believed to prevent heart disease by removing excess cholesterol away from the arteries.
Good cholesterol can be found in unsaturated foods including, peanuts, almonds, avocados, olive oil, and canola oil.
Unhealthy saturated fat is in foods such as butter, mayonnaise, red meat, whole cheese, whole milk, and fried foods, all of which can raise cholesterol to unhealthy levels.
How to Prevent Cholesterol Problems in Teens
To prevent unhealthy levels of high cholesterol in teenagers, foods containing saturated fat should be avoided. Eliminate red meat from you diet and replace it with grilled chicken, fish, or a vegetarian dish.
Include plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains into your daily menu, and make sure to get some exercise on a daily basis to lower levels of bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol.
Educate Teens on the Effects of Cholesterol
Most teenagers do not consider themselves at risk for heart disease, especially if they are not overweight. Teens tend to eat a lot of foods that are high in saturated fat without considering the consequences to their health.
Once a teenager is educated on the negative effects of a diet high in cholesterol, they will be more likely to make better food choices. Parents must set a good example by making healthy food choices in their own lives, and by stocking plenty of healthy foods in the home.
There are no symptoms that help to reveal whether or not a teen has a cholesterol problem. Teens that are overweight, have a particularly unhealthy diet, or have a family history of high cholesterol should visit their doctor to have their cholesterol count checked.