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Low-Fat Diets May Lower High Cholesterol in Children

by Daniel on April 13th, 2012

Although children are increasingly being diagnosed with high cholesterol, new findings show that low-fat, low-cholesterol diets may help children to lower cholesterol levels without damaging their growth or sexual maturation.

In a seven-year study published in the February issue of Pediatrics, researchers examined the effects of nutrition in 663 children with high cholesterol. The children were placed in either a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet group (with diets that consisted of 28 percent of total calories from fat, less than 8 percent from saturated fat and no more than 150 milligrams of cholesterol), or a control group. Researchers measured the total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels of the children throughout the study.

Researchers found that the children in the low-fat, low-cholesterol diet group reduced their levels of LDL cholesterol levels during the first five years of the study, then cholesterol levels remained constant for the remainder of the study. They also discovered that the children in the diet group grew, developed and matured at similar rates to children in the control group, despite the reduction in fat and cholesterol in their diets.

Previous studies have shown that children with high cholesterol and artherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries) are more likely than their healthy counterparts to develop heart disease and other illnesses as adults. Researchers suggest cutting down on fat by providing children with low-fat dairy foods, lean meats and other low-fat alternatives to lower elevated cholesterol levels and reduce overall heart disease risk.

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