Testing Our Kids: Do You Know Your Child's Cholesterol Levels?

February 20, 2013 Updated Feb 20, 2013 at 12:30 AM EDT

By WKBW Admin

February 20, 2013 Updated Feb 20, 2013 at 12:30 AM EDT

Do you know your numbers? Medical professionals say you should. Your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are important indicators of your health, but what about your kids? Should you know their numbers, too? Tonawanda Pediatrics says yes. The increase in childhood obesity has prompted the office to find out more about their young patients to ensure they have a long and healthy life.

"I usually order one of those kid happy meals", says 10-year old Freddy Piwko. He, like most kids, enjoys fast food. That's why his mother wants to get Freddy's cholesterol tested. Tonawanda Pediatrics is one of the first to offer the procedure to kids, starting at age nine.

With heart disease the nation's number one killer, Freddy's mother Jennifer, who is a pediatrician, wants to be proactive with her children's health.

No fasting or blood work required. All it takes is a quick finger prick.

Once the blood is collected, it's tested in a machine. Within five minutes, Freddy's cholesterol levels are printed out. The numbers screen for cholesterol linked to genetics or just an unhealthy lifestyle.

Michelle Ecker is a registered dietitian who helps kids lower high cholesterol through diet and exercise.

It includes the 5-2-1-0 plan. Five fruits and veggies a day, less than two hours of TV and media a day, greater than one hour of exercise a day and zero sweetened beverages.

It turns out Freddy had normal cholesterol numbers. It may be because this fourth grader also really likes some healthy foods.

"I like vegetables, sometimes the frozen ones are good, too."