"A lot of parents don't think about cholesterol in their kids," pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. "We're supposed to be checking it really early, even as early as age 2, especially if there's a family history of high cholesterol. In some families, you may be healthy, and exercise and eat right, but still, your cholesterol can be a little bit high. So many people think, 'I'm thin, I'm good, I'm not even going to go to the doctor.'
"Try to put it into something [your child] cares about," Dr. Sears advises. "Something that comes to mind is [saying], 'If you have high cholesterol, you're more likely to have heart disease and [erectile dysfunction].' Throw that in there. It's something he'll probably care about."
To improve cholesterol numbers, exercise is extremely important. Being active will raise the HDL, or good cholesterol, and lower LDL, bad cholesterol. Making slight changes to your diet can lower cholesterol, as well.
Foods to Eat
• Oats, oatmeal and bran soluble fiber
• Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
• Olive oil
• Yogurt and yogurt drinks
"Some people are going to be predisposed, based on genetics, to have high cholesterol," E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. "That doesn't mean that you can't take steps in your life to lower your numbers. If you do all the right things, there are some people who still need to be on cholesterol-lowering medications."