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
You can ask your child's doctor if your child should have a cholesterol test. There are different recommendations that doctors may follow.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend
for or against routine cholesterol screening for children.1 The American Heart Association and the American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP) suggest that children and teens have their cholesterol levels
checked if they have a
family history of early
coronary artery disease or have other risk
The AAP suggests these follow-up visits and cholesterol tests:
- Check risk of high cholesterol with physical exam and family history by your doctor at ages 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, and then every year through age 21.
- Have a cholesterol screening test between the ages of 18 and 21.
Cholesterol levels for children and teens
For children and teens 2 to 19 years old:3
LDL (bad) cholesterol
Less than 170 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
Less than 110 mg/dL
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 35 mg/dL.
levels should be below 150 mg/dL.
Treatment for high cholesterol in
children and adolescents
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.
you have concerns about your child's cholesterol, talk with your doctor.