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Kids and Cholesterol



Kids and Cholesterol
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.33

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    beforehand, borderline, coronary, high-density, Kellner, lipid, lipoprotein, low-density, margarine, obese, acceptable, pediatrician, waxy, cholesterol, heredity, resort
     content words:    United States


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Kids and Cholesterol
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Isabel was going to have a cholesterol test today, but she wasn't even sure why. While they were waiting their turn at the lab, she said to her mother, "I know you and Dad get tested, but why do I have to? I don't understand."
 
2     Isabel's mother responded, "The doctor is testing you as a precaution. Daddy's cholesterol is higher than everyone would like it to be. It is over 240, in fact, and your grandfather had a history of heart disease in his early 50s. Your pediatrician screens all children who have those risk factors, an unknown family history, or if they are overweight."
 
3     "Why does Dr. Kellner do that?" Isabel asked.
 
4     "He believes," Mom continued, "that we don't pay enough attention to kids' cholesterol levels, but we should. Coronary artery disease can begin in childhood. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Since high cholesterol plays a role in heart disease and stroke, Dr. Kellner believes it should be checked. Unfortunately, studies show that many more kids have high cholesterol or are obese than ever before."
 
5     "What is cholesterol?" Isabel asked.
 
6     "It's a fat, or lipid, that is made in the liver. It's waxy. It helps build cell membranes, some tissues, and hormones. Your liver makes about 1,000 milligrams a day, just what your body needs. However, certain foods give you more," Isabel's mother said.
 
7     "Why do I hear Dad talk about two different kinds of cholesterol?" Isabel asked.
 
8     Isabel's mom responded, "That would be LDL and HDL. LDL means low-density lipoprotein. HDL means high-density lipoprotein. You see, cholesterol combines with protein to get where it needs to be. This combination is called lipoprotein. HDL is nicknamed good cholesterol because it carries the cholesterol back to the liver to leave the body. LDL is nicknamed bad cholesterol because if there's too much, it builds up on the arteries' walls. Then there's hardening of the arteries that could contribute to a heart attack or stroke."
 
9     Isabel asked, "What's acceptable then?"

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