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General Health Channel
Reported August 8, 2012

U.S Teens: Healthier Than We Think?

(Ivanhoe Newswire)- Recently, health initiatives aimed at creating a healthier U.S population have placed much of their focus on American youth. According to new research those attempts to cut fat and lower cholesterol may be working.

The study, conducted by Brian K. Kit, M.D., MPH., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and his colleagues, found that there has been a decrease in average total cholesterol levels amongst children and adolescents in the United States over the past two decades.

The researchers used data on 16,116 youth between the ages of 6 and 19 who participated in the National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES). From this data they analyzed the participants' total cholesterol, non-HDL-C, HDL-C, as well as the LDL-C and the geometric average triglyceride levels for adolescents (12-19 yrs.old) only. HDL represents good cholesterol while LDL represents bad cholesterol.

They found that between 1988-1994 and 2007-2010, total cholesterol amongst the youths decreased while HDL-C increased.

"Generally, the sex, age, and race/ethnicity- specific trends for total cholesterol, HDL-C, and non-HDL-C were similar in direction to the overall trends and consistent with a favorable trend, although for each group, the magnitude was not the same and the trend was not always significant" the authors were quoted as saying.

Researchers say this is good news for adolescents and their parents, living in the United States. However, the problem of high cholesterol still exists and despite the trend towards lower cholesterol levels, adverse lipid profiles continue to be observed.

Since atherosclerosis, a process in which fatty substances form a deposit of plaque on the inner lining of arterial walls begins during childhood parents should continue to help their children make healthier decisions in order to avoid high cholesterol altogether the authors concluded.

Source: JAMA, August, 2012

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