The American Academy of Pediatrics recently endorsed the new National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) recommendation to begin screening children for high cholesterol as early as age 9.
While the importance of early detection of cardiovascular disease – the number one killer of Americans – cannot be understated, these recommendations do not come without controversy. Some raise concern that the majority of the experts on the expert panel are closely aligned with drug companies, who of course stand to benefit with an increasing pool of people needing their products.
This is not the first time a body has recommended early cholesterol screening, although it is by far the earliest age at which screening has been proposed. Previously, in 2007, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended “Screening for Lipid Disorders” commence at age 20.
What does this mean from a dietary standpoint? It is well-established that a diet high in fiber – and in particular, soluble fiber – helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and associated cardiovascular disease risk. Soluble fiber is found in most fiber-containing foods, and in particular, oat bran, nuts, beans, seeds, barley, peas and certain fruits and vegetables.
Bottom line? Increasing your fiber from naturally-occurring sources – no matter your age – can only help your health!