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HDL cholesterol

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Abnormal Cholesterol Among the Future Generation

Twenty percent of U.S. children and adolescents have abnormal cholesterol values.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that between 2011-2014 one in five children and adolescents had at least one abnormal cholesterol measure. The prevalence of these measures was higher in adolescents than children, and in youth with obesity. Obesity may explain a significant number of these abnormal values, but sex differences and genetics must also be considered.

PositiveTip: Cardiovascular risk factors begin in childhood. Make sure you ask your physician to monitor your child's cholesterol levels.

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Lowering Sugar Increases HDL Cholesterol in Youth

Sugar is a modifiable dietary risk factor.

Sugar, sugar, sugar...we all love it in almost everything! High consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, fruit juice, and sweetened teas is associated in children with higher triglyceride levels. Researchers found in a group of 600 young people that as sugary drink consumption decreased over 12 months their HDL (good) cholesterol increased. Reducing just one or more servings per day made a significant difference.

PositiveTip: Replace sugary beverages with the universal zero calorie drink--water!

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The Function of HDL May Be the Key

How much cholesterol can your HDL remove from cells?

We know HDL is the good cholesterol. However, just increasing HDL levels may not lower risk. New evidence suggests "cholesterol efflux"--the ability of the HDL to remove cholesterol from cells may be the key. Researchers followed 2400 people without cardiovascular disease for 9 years. Those with the highest cholesterol efflux, independent of other risks, saw a 67% reduction in cardiovascular risk compared to those with the lowest risk.

PositiveTip: Eat a careful, wholesome diet and get daily physical activity to minimize your risk of heart disease.

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Good Work, Americans!

Good diet, good medicine, and healthy living yield good results.

Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics found adult Americans have improved their average levels of LDL and non-HDL cholesterol (harmful), along with triglycerides, over the past 20+ years. They also increased the average level of HDL cholesterol (beneficial). A combination of better diet and better medicine may help explain these positive changes. Because improvements were seen in those not taking medications, the authors cautioned against declaring a "statin" victory.

PositiveTip: Let's keep improving our diet by choosing to eat fewer trans fats and less saturated fat and cholesterol.