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Cholesterol in Children and Teens - Topic Overview

A child may have a higher chance of having high cholesterol if he or she:

Cholesterol tests for children and teens

Your child's doctor may suggest a cholesterol test based on your child's age, family history, or a physical exam. A cholesterol test can help a doctor find out early if your child has a cholesterol level that could affect his or her health.

You can ask your child's doctor if your child should have a cholesterol test. There are different recommendations that doctors may follow.1, 2

Cholesterol levels for children and teens

For children and teens:2

Total cholesterolLDL (bad) cholesterol
Best

Less than 170 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)

Less than 110 mg/dL

Borderline high

170–199

110–129

High

200 or above

130 or above

The goal numbers for HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides can depend on your child's age and gender. But in general:

  • HDL (good) cholesterol should be higher than 40 mg/dL.
  • Triglyceride levels should be below 130 mg/dL.

Treatment for high cholesterol

Treatment for high cholesterol typically includes changes in diet and increased physical activity. Work with your doctor or a dietitian to make diet changes so that your child can get proper nutrition while trying to lower cholesterol.

Less commonly, medicines, such as a statin, may be used to help lower cholesterol levels.

If you have concerns about your child's cholesterol, talk with your doctor.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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