Cholesterol testing for kids in. Healthy fats and nutrition counseling out.Posted: November 13, 2011
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.