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By PAMELA REDWINE
When I think of taking my kids to the doctor I think of them having several different tests, but cholesterol never crossed my mind! However, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute‚Äôs recommendations, ‚ÄúChildren‚Äôs first cholesterol check should occur between ages 9 and 11. The test should be repeated between ages 17 and 21.‚ÄĚ The American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed the guideline saying that lowering cholesterol risk in childhood has profound benefits through life.
‚ÄĒ Obesity, followed by elevated cholesterol and blood pressure are the greatest risk factors.
‚ÄĒ 17% of all children are now obese which is triple the level just 30 years ago.
The diet and lifestyle recommendations that are graded A includes:
‚ÄĒ Fat should be limited to 25-30 percent of calories.
‚ÄĒ Saturated fat should be limited to 7-10 percent of calories
‚ÄĒ Keep cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day
‚ÄĒ Drink fat free milk after age 2
‚ÄĒ Eat plant foods and more whole grains which are all high in fiber. Increase fruits and vegetables.
‚ÄĒ Exercise 30-60 minutes every day plus match calories consumed.
‚ÄĒ See a dietitian for ongoing nutrition counseling if cholesterol is too high.
Other recommendations, which received lower than an A, but may also, help include:
‚ÄĒ 5g plus age for fiber
‚ÄĒ Getting enough Vitamin D
‚ÄĒ Keeping blood pressure in check with sodium reduction
‚ÄĒ Lowering sugar consumed especially in beverages
‚ÄĒ Use 100% juice and limit to 4 ounces per day
Recipe of the Week
Creamy Ham and Potato Chowder
3 cups frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes
2 1/2 cups 2 percent reduced fat milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced ham
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) 50 percent less fat shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion
Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Stir in ham and pepper; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 11 minutes. Mash potatoes slightly using the back of a spoon; stir in cheese and green onions. Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
Per Serving: Cal 192, Fat 5.2g, Pro 12.2g, Carb 24.8, Fib 2.4, Chol 26mg, Iron 0.3mg, Sodium 416, Calcium 228mg.
Recipe Source: Weight Watchers: Five Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes, March 26, 2010
Pamela Redwine is a nutrition and food safety agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Article provided by Oktibbeha County Extension Service; for more information call 662-323-5916.View more articles in: