One out of every five American kids has poor cholesterol readings, according to a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics, a department of the CDC. Among the findings in the study, an estimated 20 percent of youths in America had a high total cholesterol, low levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, or high levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.
The study looked at data from the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for youths between the ages of six and 19.
The data showed a greater prevalence amongst the population in question of low HDL levels (13.4 percent) than high LDL cholesterol (8.4 percent) or high total cholesterol (7.4 percent).
In adolescents, each of these abnormal results was more likely than in children, and girls were more likely than boys to have a high total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, but less likely to have low HDL cholesterol. Not surprisingly, those who qualified as obese were more likely to report poor results in each factor.
The takeaway, a CDC news brief warned, was that these poor results indicated poor cardiovascular health for a new generation of adults, and more cases of cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death for adults in the United States.
“Hypertension is an epidemic that is reaching younger and younger populations,” Dr. Maan Fares, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told Time. “[The findings] come as a relative surprise, but it’s not entirely surprising. It’s beyond what I would have expected but not much worse. My speculation is that obesity and lifestyle for the most part are playing a role in this.”