My child has high cholesterol 


What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is made by your liver and is found in some foods. Your body uses it to make cells and hormones. 

What does it mean to have high cholesterol? 

High cholesterol can lead to problems with your blood vessels. It can block blood vessels and cause a heart attack or stroke. 


Cholesterol goals for children and teens

  • Total cholesterol mg/dL should be less than 170.
  • LDL cholesterol mg/dL should be less than 110.

*mg/dL means milligrams per deciliter or the amount of cholesterol in someone’s blood 

Who should be screened and when? 

All children between 9–11 years old get a test at least once. All teens should get tested again between 17–19 years old. 

Some children with certain medical problems may need to be screened between ages 2–8 and 12–16. They include children who:

  • Have diabetes or high blood pressure 
  • Are overweight 
  • Smoke
  • Have certain illnesses, such as kidney disease, Kawasaki disease (a disease that affects the blood vessels) or juvenile idiopathic arthritis (joint problems of unknown cause sometimes found in children) 
  • Have a parent or close family member (such as a sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle) with: 
    • A total cholesterol level higher than 240 mg/dL 
    • Has a father who developed heart disease before age 55
    • Has a mother who developed heart disease before age 65

How can your child eat healthier? 

  • Switch from whole milk to 1% milk. 
  • Limit butter and shortening or lard. Use oils low in saturated fat, such as olive oil. 
  • Have healthy snacks ready to go. For example: plain popcorn, fruits and veggies or low-fat cheese and yogurt. 
  • Choose lean meats, such as chicken, fish, beans, center cut pork, pork loin, 90% ground beef, London broil or sirloin. 
  • Pick up fruits and veggies for your child to eat during meals or for snack. Try carrots and low-fat ranch. Try apples and natural peanut butter with low amounts of sugar. (Peanut butter can have healthy fats.) 



  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • KidsHealth