What to do about high cholesterol in kids

Have you heard the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for cholesterol screening and treatment for children?

Among other things, AAP says, “For children who are more than 8 years old and who have high LDL [bad cholesterol] concentrations, cholesterol-reducing medications should be considered.”

The New York Times is “appalled.”

Start children on statins before they reach double digits?

“The new recommendations are based on evidence that the damage leading to heart disease begins early in life. While cholesterol levels among adolescents have remained stable, the new stance reflects concerns that childhood obesity is increasing and that the prevalence of high blood pressure may be increasing.”

NYT continues, “The ease of popping pills should not distract parents, health professionals, or policy makers from the more arduous tasks of cutting back on junk foods, promoting healthy diets, and putting physical education back into the schools.”

That sounds about right.

But Dr. Kathi Kemper from Wake Forest University School of Medicines who heads AAP’s new Section for Complementary and Integrative Medicine has a more complete set of guidelines.

The bottom line?
Her recommendation is that parents encourage their children to adopt a complementary strategy for good health.

  • Eat healthy foods. Whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables, fish, non-fat dairy.
  • Live smoke free.
  • Exercise. Get at least 60 minutes of exercise intense enough to lead to sweating at least five days a week.
  • Connect. Eat meals together as a family at least 4 days a week, and join clubs, church, community groups, civic groups, and sports teams.
  • Manage stress. Find out what works: exercise, prayer, keeping a journal, meditating, soothing music, bubble baths, before finding tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.
  • Sleep. Kids today are often getting an hour less than they need.

Dr. Kemper has published a book titled, The Holistic Pediatrician (Second Edition): A Pediatrician’s Comprehensive Guide to Safe and Effective Therapies for the 25 Most Common Ailments of Infants, Children, and Adolescents.

7/13/08 20:23 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.