What are the best ways to help lower a kid's "bad" cholesterol level?

What are the best ways to help lower a kid’s “bad” cholesterol level?

Ellen Rome, M.D.

Ellen Rome, M.D.

Dr. Ellen Rome is a board-certified pediatrician who was among the first in the U.S. to be board certified in adolescent medicine. She... Read more

Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your child’s low-density lipoprotein (LDL) level, also known as bad cholesterol.

•Get her moving. Active play or exercise for a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes per day will help her improve her good cholesterol, or HDL (high-density lipoproteins), which offsets the bad cholesterol.

•Exchange saturated fats for healthier ones. Out with the butter, red meat, eggs and whole and 2 percent fat cheese. In with the olive and flaxseed oils and spreads, choice or select grades of lean ground beef, fish, poultry, low-fat cheese, omega-3-fortified eggs (no more than three per week) and egg whites.

•Banish trans fats from her diet. Trans fats raise cholesterol. They’re found in packaged cookies, crackers, cakes and doughnuts. Watch out for hidden trans fats, found in foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

•Offer omega-3-rich foods. These contain DHA, which helps heart health. Salmon, walnuts and DHA-fortified skim milk and yogurt are good sources.

•Encourage her to eat five servings of fruits and veggies each day. A serving for a child isn’t a whole piece of fruit, necessarily, so check recommended serving sizes.

•Use 100 percent whole-grain breads and pastas instead of white/processed grains.

•Limit fast food meals to once a week or less.

•Include soluble fiber, which can lower bad cholesterol. Oatmeal, apples, raspberries, sweet potatoes and blueberries are great sources.