A child may have a higher chance of having high cholesterol if he or she:
- Is overweight.
- Does not exercise much.
- Does not eat healthy foods.
- Has a family history of high cholesterol.
Cholesterol tests for children and teens
Your child's doctor may suggest a cholesterol test based on your child's age, family history, or a physical exam.
You can ask your child's doctor if your child should have a cholesterol test. There are different recommendations that doctors may follow.1, 2, 3, 4
Cholesterol levels for children and teens
For children and teens:2, 4
LDL (bad) cholesterol
Less than 170 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
Less than 110 mg/dL
200 or above
130 or above
The goal numbers for HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides can depend on your child's age and gender.
Treatment for high cholesterol
Treatment for high cholesterol typically includes changes in diet and increased physical activity. Work with your doctor or a dietitian to make diet changes so that your child can get proper nutrition while trying to lower cholesterol.
Less commonly, medicines, such as a statin, may be used to help lower cholesterol levels.
If you have concerns about your child's cholesterol, talk with your doctor.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2016). Screening for lipid disorders in children and adolescents. JAMA, 316(6): 625–633. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2016.9852. Accessed August 9, 2016.
- Expert Panel on Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents (2011). Expert panel on integrated guidelines for cardiovascular health and risk reduction in children and adolescents: Summary report. Pediatrics, 128(Suppl 5): S213–S256.
- Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine, Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule Working Group (2016). 2016 recommendations for preventive pediatric health care. Pediatrics, 137(1). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2015-3908. Accessed December 7, 2015.
- Grundy SM, et al. (2018). 2018 AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA guideline on the management of blood cholesterol: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association task force on clinical practice guidelines. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, published online November 8, 2018: S0735. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2018.11.003. Accessed January 28, 2019.
Other Works Consulted
- McCrindle BW, et al. (2007). Drug therapy of high-risk lipid abnormalities in children and adolescents. A scientific statement from the American Heart Association Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, and Obesity in Youth Committee, Council of Cardiovascular Disease in the Young, with the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing. Circulation, 115(14): 1948–1967.
Current as of: April 29, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics