FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 file photo, Oumou Balde, 4, left, plays with her teacher Jacqualine Sanchez, right, and some pretend food in a pre-kindergarten class at the Sheltering Arms Learning Center in New York in a program that was produced in conjunction with the Sesame Street children's television show to educate children about nutrition and health. Lead author of a analysis released on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, Dr. Amanda Perak, a heart specialist at Chicago's Lurie Children's Hospital, says in most cases, kids can improve cholesterol levels by adopting healthier habits _ eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and less processed food, and exercising more. Researchers studied data from health surveys in 1999 through 2016 involving 26,000 U.S. kids aged 6 to 19. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Cholesterol improves in US kids despite high obesity rates

Numbers were down 10% from a decade earlier.

May 21, 2019 - 10:06 am
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CHICAGO (AP) — Cholesterol levels in children and teens improved in the latest analysis of U.S. health surveys, yet only half of them had readings considered ideal.

Overall, 7% of kids had high cholesterol in surveys from 2009 to 2016. That was down from 10% a decade earlier. In children, high levels mean 200 or above. Ideal measures are below 170.

The researchers say the mixed bag of results could reflect stubborn rates of childhood obesity, offset by U.S. kids eating fewer snack foods containing unhealthy trans fats. Manufacturers began phasing those out before a 2018 U.S. ban.

The analysis involved 26,000 U.S. kids aged 6 to 19. The results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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