Cholesterol testing for kids in. Healthy fats and nutrition counseling out.

Pitcher of Salad Dressing

Real fat will help kids feel satiated so they can lose weight.

Yesterday, my sister told me a very sad story about my niece, who is carrying a lot of extra weight for her age. She was trying on the leotard for her dance recital, amidst all of the other girls, and she couldn’t get it over her thighs. She was humiliated, and she cried and cried.

I immediately had a flash back  to all of the humiliating times from my girlhood that centered around my weight. The comments from my ballet teacher that I was too chubby to be a ballerina. The time my friend’s father warned me not to eat his food while he was in the bathroom at the McDonald’s we had stopped at on the way to a science competition. And on, and on…

Fortunately, my sister and I have the knowledge my mother didn’t have to help my niece lose the weight (see blog post about what to eat). I know my niece shares my struggle with cravings for sugar and high-carb foods. I know she needs to stay away from grains and processed foods, while eating protein, good carbs, and fat in balance through out the day to stave off cravings for cake, cookies, and candy. And by fat I mean butter, nuts, avocadoes, and heavy cream. These fats are her only defense against serious cravings that she can’t control.

So imagine my horror when I heard that a government panel is now recommending that kids as young as 9 be screened for high cholesterol (Doctors: Test all kids for cholesterol by age 11 ) because of the rise in childhood obesity. I think this recommendation means that fat, and specifically healthy saturated fat, will continue to be vilified in the media and in the information dispensed by most doctors. So the one substance that is crucial to helping kids feel satiated so they can lose weight will be off limits to them.

People continue to make the incorrect assumption that fat in the diet means high cholesterol. Tamara Brown, a nutritionist with Nutritional Weight and Wellness, recently wrote an article that dispels this myth. She tells the history of how saturated fats got a bad wrap in the first place, and she continues with the truth about the healing properties of saturated fat.

What really got to me about this testing recommendation is that because it comes from a government panel, the testing will likely be covered by Medicaid and other insurance providers. But the nutrition counseling that children like my niece so desperately need continues to be uncovered by insurance (that is until they get diabetes, then it is covered). My sister will need to pay the full cost of the nutrition counseling appointment–an appointment that will give her health-saving nutrition information for her whole family. The irony is that this information will likely save her insurance company thousands of dollars in future medical costs (see my post about how much I save a year because of good nutritional advice). It will also eliminate the need for her to be tested for high cholesterol.

What do you think of this new recommendation? Leave a comment.

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10 Comments on “Cholesterol testing for kids in. Healthy fats and nutrition counseling out.”

  1. Tracey says:

    I listened to Maria’s link. Great info, gives me hope that experts are starting to take up battle with the government concerning sugar and high fructose corn syrup. I really want to try and make a difference in my childrens’ school but I haven’t decided how I’m going to go about doing it. We have to get all of this crappy food out of the schools. I may start by seeing if the school principal would be interested in hosting a nww class for parents….

  2. Tracey says:

    So disturbing. When I walk by the lunch room every morning as I drop off my first grader at school I always peek in to see what’s being served for breakfast… Pizza, cereal, sugary yogurt and chocolate milk. Kids don’t stand a chance against these odds. My kids get eggs, sausage and a slice of homemade ww toast, I send them with a healthy lunch that combines protein, carb and fat but I don’t control the snack they get in the afternoon if it’s not our turn to supply it. I could send one everyday (which I may start doing). My excuse has been that I worry my one child will feel left out etc. But I need to just get over it, he may actully prefer something that I provide for him if he gets to choose as I know he’s a picky eater and sometimes doesn’t like the snack provided. However, he always eats the snack if it has sugar in it.
    Thanks for keeping up your blog! I’m always inspired and it’s nice to hear what you have to say as I don’t have anyone in my life as interested in this stuff as I am.

  3. Jan says:

    This idea is terrifying. It seems aimed to do one thing primarily, and that is to open the markets to putting kids on Statins. This article appeared in our local paper and noted that they estimate that “only” 1% of the kids who get tested will be put on statins but if EVERY kid in the US who has access to health care is put on statins, that’s a LOT of money for the drug companies.

    Meanwhile, there is NO evidence that statins will prevent heart disease in kids. Statins come with lots of ugly side effects. So let’s put a kid who is overweight and probably not very active on a drug that will cause muscle pain and weakness, and then insist they make a healthy lifestyle change and exercise more–ain’t going to happen. Furthermore, evidence shows a higher rate of deaths in individuals who have lower cholesterol numbers.

    If you are smart enough to know that theres no basis to put your kids on statins, imagine being reported to child protective services for failing to follow through with a recommended medical treatment. Scary, scary stuff.

    And yes, the other side is that fats will continue to be vilified, when the real culprit, sugar, goes on its merry way to poison our children hidden in almost every food our children are served in their school lunches

  4. Jessica says:

    Thanks for the blog article and the helpful links. Best wishes to your niece

    My cynical side continues to be rewarded by government panels… (crud, this is really too bad) The money, the money. Follow the money.

    I think you’re spot-on with the speculative criticism about payment for medication and the lack of reimbursement for nutrition counseling.

    How long will it take for the truth to overcome the misguided convention?


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