Sharon Vail and her daughter Ashley are taking advantage of a half school day and spending the afternoon at the rink.
“For us we are up and active and exercise quite a bit,” Vail told 7 Eyewitness News.
For this mother of three, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is top priority. According to new research, this lifestyle - a combination of physical activity and a healthy diet - could be the key to keeping her children’s cholesterol low.
“We don’t watch TV in our house, we don’t play video games we don’t do any of that,” Vail said. “But for a lot of households, it’s their babysitter, it’s their way of life.”
A new report released by the National Center for Health Statistics looked at the prevalence of high cholesterol, and either the HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) in children ages 6 to 19. Among those studied – close to 8 percent had high total cholesterol.
“We actually see elevated levels in children more than you would expect,” said Dr. Marissa Burg, a physician at Amherst Pediatrics.
She says the changing face of cholesterol has led pediatricians to test more groups for the condition at an earlier age. “We’ve begun testing all children once between ages 9 and 11 and once between age 17 and 21."
Dr. Burg says high cholesterol as a child is often a predecessor to other diseases such as heart disease as an adult. But a child’s diagnoses of high cholesterol isn’t a life sentence.
Many factors including genetics, environmental factors, and diet all play a role in LDL and HDL levels.
The physician suggests limiting the intake of animal-based products, including meats and dairy, and incorporating more fruits, vegetables and other soluble fibers.
As for Vail, she says the recent study is frightening but speaks to why she will continue to urge her family to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. “I want them to live long, I want them to prosper and I want them to be healthy and happy.”
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