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Survey shows children eat poorly and do not get enough exercise

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Anyone can have high cholesterol levels, regardless of whether they maintain a healthy diet or how old they are, which is why everyone should be getting regular lab tests to check cholesterol levels. While some people may think that children don't have to worry about their readings, they would be incorrect. According to WebMD, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children first get screened for high cholesterol after age 2, but no later than age 10.

Recently, the National Health and Nutrition Survey was released and it shed some light on why kids may need cholesterol screenings. According to the findings, 80 percent of young people surveyed followed an unhealthy diet.

Too much junk food
Science World Report explained that the children surveyed were between the ages of 12 and 19. The researchers looked at more than 4,200 children and discovered that not only did 80 percent of children have an unsatisfactory diet, but 50 percent of girls and 67 percent of boys did not get the recommended amount of exercise every day.

"The far less-than-optimal physical activity levels and dietary intake of current U.S. teenagers is translating into obesity and overweight that in turn is likely influencing worsening rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood glucose at these young ages," said Christina Shay from the University of Oklahoma and lead author of the study, quoted by Science World.

Shay added that these findings suggest that parents, teachers, legislators, doctors and researchers all need to work harder to make sure that children are eating right and getting enough exercise.

What are they eating?
It may be difficult for some parents to understand which foods are particularly bad for their children. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a list of the worst foods for children that should only be given to them sparingly. Among these foods are sugary sodas, hamburgers, hot dogs, bologna, French fries, chocolate bars and ice cream.

Instead, the center recommends that people give their children yogurt, whole-grain low-sugar cereal, seasoned air-popped popcorn, chicken without skin or breading and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Also, families should work together to get more exercise. Instead of going to a movie on a Saturday afternoon, families should go on bike rides or head to a park where they can remain active while spending time together.

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