Are high levels of cholesterol threatening for a child?
The issue of high levels of cholesterol in children has been under debate, especially in the United States of America.Some of the experts’ opinion approve of testing for high levels of the blood sugar in children, stating that if the level of cholesterol were too high in childhood, chances were that such children might develop heart disease at later ages. While those who are against the test posit that the presence of cholesterol in the blood stream of a child does not have to lead to heart disease as they become adults.
However, those who stressed that children be tested early enough insist that most adult heart disease start in childhood and that high level of cholesterol in the blood stream is to blame. They maintain that while those children who have very strong family history of premature heart disease be tested, they claimed that high levels of cholesterol have been found in some children who had no history of early heart disease.
They argue that cardiovascular disease builds up over a lifetime. To prove their point, they said that when an autopsy was done on children who had died in accidents that results showed that present already in their arteries were fatty steaks. They noted that it was evident, therefore, that children’s fat consumption would have to be monitored.
But those against the test said that the presence of blood fat in children was natural and only to be expected. They noted that fatty streaks are present in the arteries of children irrespective of their diet. Fats deposit would be in their blood stream irrespective of gender, race or from whatever country they have come from, they argued, adding that blood fat was not threatening to children and often would disappear. They said that when at all they were converted to artery blocking fat, the children would have grown older and in puberty.
They did not approve of low-fat diet as was recommended for such children, claiming that it was a waste of time for children who are not overweight. And for those whose parents put on such a diet, they noticed that it had no effect even when the children had high levels of cholesterol.
According to them, in a study on dietary intervention among children between the ages of eight and 10, children who had higher than average levels of blood cholesterol confirmed that low-fat diet was not the solution because a small amount of reduction which did not hinder growth or development was noticed.
High levels of cholesterol do not kill children; it does not kill an adult either, they said, noting that even when low fat diet did bring down levels in children that they could not say for a certainty it would save a life.
But they were sure, however, that low levels would cost a life, they declared as they explained that there was a mysterious connection between low levels of cholesterol and accident, violence and suicide, which they observed were the major causes of death in children and young people.
Deaths due to accident, violence and suicide among adults who had low levels of blood cholesterol were also high, they said.According to them low fat diet does not prevent obesity; the amount of fat you consume would not necessarily mean that the person would become overweight. But obesity is the result of the calories that have been taken and used up.
Another twist to the fuss about high levels of cholesterol in a child’s blood stream is that in trying to enforce a low fat diet, parents want to take control of a child’s diet. This control may mean that children will not eat the amount of food they need, neither would they use their initiative to learn to like a variety of foods.
Research has shown that parents fail often when they want to stop children from eating fatty foods because many times, the children would eat just those things when they have the opportunity even when they are not hungry, they observed.
“When you obsess about children eating what you dictate for them, you are setting them up to developing food disorders. They are aware now more than ever that fat and cholesterol are bad, so children are learning about how to eat healthy at very young ages. But as they grow older and eat junk foods and enjoy even when they know that they are bad for health, they feel guilty.”
“Do away with the fears and allow children to eat, they could prove harmful in the long run and may lead to more serious eating disorders and disordered eating. They recommend that children’s daily consumption of fat be moderate, not high or low. The intake should make up between 30 and 40 per cent of daily calories. Infants and toddlers should get up to half their daily calories from fat,” they said.