When you look at the news about the health of our kids, there has been little good news over the last couple of decades: obesity, lack of activity, increased food allergies, diabetes, and on and on. So when we DO get even somewhat good news it is exciting. Here is what is getting folks going:
A big government study shows that in the past decade, the proportion of children who have high cholesterol has fallen.
The results are surprising, given that the childhood obesity rate didn’t budge.
How can that be?
Some experts think that while most kids may not be eating less or exercising more, they may be getting fewer trans fats. That’s because the artery-clogging ingredient has been removed or reduced in many processed or fried foods such as doughnuts, cookies and french fries.
The reason that the results were surprising and there is speculation is that the study wasn’t designed to determine the root causes of any of the results, merely monitor the outputs. Here are some additional details about the data they collected:
Kit and his colleagues drew data from an intensive national study that interviews people and does blood-cholesterol tests. They focused on more than 16,000 children and adolescents over three periods — 1988-94, 1999-2002 and 2007-10.
During the most recent period studied, 1 in 12 children ages 6 through 19 had high cholesterol. That was down from 1 in 9 during each of the earlier periods — roughly a 28 percent decline.
The average overall cholesterol level fell from 165 to 160. In children, 200 is considered too high.
The reason I call it ‘somewhat’ good news is that it appears that since obesity remains close to 20% (remember, this is OBESITY, not merely ‘chubby kids’), the entire effect is based on the policy actions by some cities and states to ban trans-fats and the public pressure put on companies to remove trans-fats from products.
Reducing cholesterol is a very good thing, as high cholesterol is linked to heart attacks and heart disease, as well as an increased rick of stroke and high blood pressure. All of these things have a long-term effect, so the earlier that kids can have healthy lifestyles, the better off they will be throughout their lives.
Of course, one positive indicator isn’t enough. As noted, the eating habits of kids haven’t changed – nor has the sedentary lifestyles many enjoy. Kids are still way too heavy, not active and simply eating the wrong things – and all of those can lead to many other health issues, some of which are as influential on future heart issues as cholesterol.
So while this news is a good thing, it is passive – it is happening without kids or parents making better choices. And THAT is what needs to happen so that we can reverse the trend of each generation being heavier and less healthy than the last.
Here is a summary video:
Source: ABC News