Kids & Cholesterol

Updated on September 07, 2012
L.D. asks from Great Neck, NY
9 answers

My 5 year old recently had his cholesterol checked at his 5 year check up because my husband has high cholesterol. His Total = 196
HDL = 39
TRG = 151 (Trigcylerides a little high)
LDL = 126
non-HDL = 156
LDL/HDL = 3.2 (Ratio?)

While his pediatrician was not concerned, I though that seemed a bit high as it is considered "borderline". My son LOVES milk and drinks 5-6 glasses a day (too much I know, cutting back...) We were giving him 2% because I figured a growing boy needs some fat in his milk. However, our pediatrician recommended we switch him to skim milk instead, which he doesn't. My son also loves dairy in general, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. I'd actually like to try to get him off cow's milk in general and try almond or coconut milk as an alternative, however I know he won't like the switch, I've already tried and he can tell the difference. Any suggestions on trying to get him to change to a non-dairy milk & a more plant based diet? I do want a mix of some animal fats of course but want to try to incorporate more veggies & non-dairy in his diet. He loves fruit but besides carrots, won't touch any other veggies. I am also not even considering medication, so not looking for any battles about statins at this time as there seem to be plenty of them out there.


What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Seattle on

5 to 6 glasses a day seems like way too much. Maybe you could cut him down to 2-3. He should probably be drinking water instead of milk much of the time.

More Answers



answers from Seattle on



Kids actually need high fat diets (which translates into higher fat blood tests), for;

- brain development
- myelinization of axons/nerves
- immune growth (particularly in building bone marrow), and function
- other organ growth

As adults, we don't do those things... those things were already done in our childhood. So when we have higher fat readings, it's not going anywhere except our artery walls and our tushes. Kid's fat levels are MUCH higher to be healthy (kids should never ever ever be put on a low fat diet unless under VERY STRICT MONITORING by their doctors as doing so can cause all kinds of neurological problems... usually not immediately noticeable). My neurology profs all soap boxed on this issue over, and over, and over. So many problems that were NEVER seen in kids are now becoming common childhood problems, because concerned and loving parents are TOO well eduacated (but SUPER ignorant)... so they're reading adult nutrition, and applying it to their kids. Bad JuJuj.

Your doctor is happy. Go with that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

He doesn't need all that calcium. So first, find out how much he needs and chart it every day to make sure he's getting what he needs. Then offer different types of foods - proteins, veggies, fruits for the rest.

Start out with mixing 2% and skim milk together. Add the skim milk an ounce at a time until it's mostly skim. That will help. I would not use coconut milk because that's high in cholesterol as well.

I would really only be worried about your son's numbers if high cholesterol runs in your family. They do not medicate kids - there are no studies on kids and statins. The best thing you can do is change his diet and make sure he's getting good exercise.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

The thing is, people with low cholesterol still have heart attacks and hardening of the arteries.
Having low cholesterol is not the end all and be all of being healthy.
Cholesterol is a necessary building block for practically everything and kids NEED it because they are growing and developing.
High cholesterol in the elderly is linked with higher survival rates.
(After a certain age, high cholesterol is a GOOD thing.)
I'm not convinced that lowering it between youth and old age is a good idea.
Diet does not change your cholesterol much - your liver is responsible for maintaining levels.
Playing with cholesterol levels is an attempt to reprogram your liver.
Your liver is a necessary organ - if it fails you die.
I had horrible memory loss and joint pains from being on a statin for several years.
I had to quit taking it - it was a quality of life decision.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

What is the breakdown of his cholesterol total? Unless his "bad cholesterol" is truly high, I wouldn't rush to change his diet. The total could be high because his "good cholesterol" is higher than expected. Your doctor should be able to tell you both numbers and where they lie on the charts.

This was told to my parents when I was a teenager. It was only later that I learned about the two types of cholesterol and that my "good" measures very high. Now, my doctor gushes about my cholesterol numbers.

And sorry, but skim milk is Yucky!! And almond or coconut milk do NOT have the nutritional value of cow's milk.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Hi Lisa,
It is very important that you act and make a plan about your kids' diet. It will be difficult in the beginning since it means a big change and adjustment, but you will have to be firm. H. some ideas:
Feed your kids with LOTS of fruits and vegetables, find recipes kids' friendly in the internet, bookstore or library, but it IS important to change their habits NOW just for their own good.
Animal protein and sugar are the key factors, but it is not good also to take all the animal protein from a child at once. However, instead of giving them chicken legs, you can give them chicken breasts, etc.
Fish (salmon or tuna, tuna sandwich!) are very good;
Avocados (little pieces mixed with tuna, and a "little bit" of olive oil and a pinch of salt on a toast...)
Fruit smoothies, and vegetable smoothies are very good, you can mix veggies and fruits also and disguise the taste of vegetables. (Tip, mango mixed with vegetables give veggies a more sweet and nice taste.)
Get a "green pan" so you don't have to use oils or butter since the food doesn't stick to it and all the juices and flavors are kept intact.

Avoid dairy as much as possible, if your kids want it, buy non-fat (no light!) plain yogurt or any other flavor without fruit at the bottom; non-fat cheese (mozzarella); almond milk is delicious, you can buy it in vanilla or chocolate flavor, my kids love it! It has more calcium than regular milk!
Give them flavored gelatin when they want something sweet.
Make cakes from scratch (when needed, and very occasionally ) with less sugar and additives , and avoid things with high fructose corn syrup (it is poison!).
Make wheat flour pancakes. Avoid white flour in cakes, pastas, etc.
Lots of water, that keeps them from having "cravings".
Recipes for diabetic people are excellent resource for people with high cholesterol.
NO soda, no chocolate (just real dark chocolate or 70%cocoa choclate, sparingly!)
No bacon, no hot dogs (not even from the Trader Joe's or Whole Foods!) No corn dogs, no chicken nuggets...
To lower LDL levels, your kids will need LOTS OF EXERCISE. Find an activity or sport that make them MOVE and SWEAT. Limit TV and WII games, etc and let them go out and run and play EVERY DAY. Exercise is a LIFETIME activity and part of our lives not just an activity aside.
I am glad you are avoiding medication. Statins are bad and their side effects are horrible and sometimes irreversible even when doctors do not admit it. If your kids do not follow your instructions or changes they will be prescribed statins, you don't want that, it is so much better to avoid the problem and take action.
It is not easy to follow a plan avoiding things that children love so much, crave and are addicted to (sugar and soda are addictive), but the benefits are so much greater than the sacrifice. I hope this helps you.



answers from New York on

Woe...slow down. You're talking about a 5 year old. True you do need to make sure they get a balanced diet and exercise. You do not need to go to extemes. The diet needs to be in perfect balance for your little one's body and not from what all that "band wagon" media filled with junk science says. There is a big difference between adult nutrition and child nutrition. Even the amount of calcium requirements differ throughout our lives. Worse yet is if you put a healthy child on medication they may not even need based on a single blood test, you can really mess up that child's body for life! Ok, done with the speech and don't forget your a great mom. Your concerned about keeping your child healthy, so who could as for a more loving mom than that? I looked the blood work references up and here's what I found for children 1-6 yrs....HDL: 35-82, LDL: 36-140, Total cholesterol: 108-187, Trigs:32-116, and the ratio should be above 0.3...a 0.4 is perfect. Your child's healthy. Yes, the trigs are considered borderline high, but that can be caused through a miscalulation in the blood work itself, child didn't fast for 12 hours, eating a little too many carbs/starches. No biggy. You are correct about the fat. A child need that fat for brain development and the neurons. The brain isn't fully developed yet, so you really don't need to opt for skim milk. 2% is perfect, especially since the cholesterol levels are fantastic! You can get low-fat cheeses and yogurt. My neice drank a ton of milk when she was younger and still does as a young adult. She skinny and has perfect blood work. The real culprets for childhood obesity, that I see (I know what the junk scientist say in the news and I know what I observe in my son's classmates.) are too much junk food and lack of exercise. A little bit of junk food is ok once in a while, but not the whole bag. Children's bodies are wired for hyperactivity not couch sitting contests. (lol.) So how do you accomplish all setting an example and making food look attractive and finding things your son can do in the kitchen to get him interested in food. Mama L.'s perscription:
1. Get out there and play! - Everynight, get the family outside and kick a giant ball around the yard/driveway. Act like your 5 yro is winning some sort of game. Let him climb a tree under your supervision, so you can make sure he doesn't go to high and fall. Play fake baseball, teach him badminton, etc. (It has to be high energy time...time to be hyper!)
2. He doesn't like vegies...Maybe it's the texture. Try raw green peppers, raw sweet red peppers, celery, blanched fresh brocoli with a little salt and olive oil on it.
3. Kitchen time...Everyone needs to learn how to cook. Let him fill cresent roll dough with nuts or cheese. Let him make crazy faces on the plate with the food. Let him put raisins on celery with PB or cream cheese on it. Let him help set the table, etc.
4. Have fun, relax, and enjoy your child!


answers from Dallas on

Actually, feeding kids a "high fat diet" is not healthier for them (as a responder indicated). Kids need healthy fats (as do adults). Saturated fats don't qualify. Milkfat isn't necessary after age 2. I give my kids 2 glasses a day of 1% milk. 5-6 glasses is WAY too much, especially if you're giving him other dairy foods on top of that. (a nutritionist told me this, I'm not pulling it out of my butt, lol)

If the doctor isn't concerned about the numbers, you probably shouldn't be either. You're not considering medication, so what ARE you wanting to hear? Your only option would be to feed him an optimal diet, so if I were you, considering his genetic history and your husband's cholesterol problem, I would consult with a nutritionist. A nutritionist/dietician can give your son the best chance at living a healthy life and keeping his arteries & heart healthy.


answers from Jacksonville on

I am surprised that only Sue W. mentioned the breakdown. "Total" cholesterol really has no meaning. What matters is the ratio of "good" (HDL) cholesterol to "bad" (LDL) cholesterol. They are not the same, and having a high HDL is a good thing. From what I understand, it is ok even to have a high "bad" (LDL) level AS LONG AS the ratio is in line--meaning you have a high enough LDL level to offset it.

So, you really need a more comprehensive set of numbers for your son's cholesterol screen to mean anything at all. A "total" is not a sufficient picture of his health. You need the breakdown of the HDL and LDL also.

ETA: Since you posted the numbers... a 3.5 ratio is ok. Based on the numbers you posted, it looks like it is tipped a little too heavily towards the LDL. Fats are important, and Nikki made some good points. He doesn't need that much whole milk every day (nor the fat in it---it isn't the right kind of fat). If he won't drink skim (it can take some getting used to!) just cut down on the amount of milk in general. Substitute water during non-mealtimes. Use olive oil when you are preparing foods, rather than vegetable oil. Any nut allergies? Almonds and walnuts are excellent sources of "good" fats. As far as veggies, do you cook them all? My kids wouldn't eat them cooked for the longest time (around that age)... they liked them raw, however. Raw cucumbers slices. Raw carrots. Raw broccoli. Celery. Dip it in peanut butter! :) You can also grill zuchini and yellow squash. My kids will eat that grilled sometimes, but not any other way.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions