American Academy of Pediatrics Releases New Statement Regarding Children and Heart Health
Health News Digest - July 7, 2008
New guidelines were released in the July 2008 issue of Pediatrics, recommending cholesterol screening of children and adolescents with a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease.
These guidelines, part of a new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) "Lipid Screening and Cardiovascular Health in Childhood," also recommend dietary changes for certain children and reemphasize the importance of following the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and increasing physical activity.1
One change the report recommends is to consider the use of reduced-fat dairy foods, such as reduced-fat (2%) milk, for children between 12 months and 2 years of age for whom overweight or obesity is a concern or who have a family history of obesity, dyslipidemia or cardiovascular disease.
"Research continues to show that for infants and children, milk and milk products are fundamental to a healthy diet," said Karen Kafer, Vice President of Nutrition Affairs/Health Partnerships at the National Dairy Council (NDC). "We are working in partnership with the AAP to educate parents with children of different ages and health circumstances how to choose the milk products best for them. We want parents to understand that milk is more than just an important source of calcium for their children; it also contains eight other essential nutrients that help build and maintain strong bones, muscles and teeth."
The AAP continues to emphasize calcium recommendations from its 2006 Report on Bone Health which promotes 3 servings of dairy foods daily for children and 4 servings for adolescents.2 Likewise, the Dietary Guidelines encourage children from ages 2-8 to consume 3 child-size servings from the milk group each day for a total of 2 cups; children age 9 and older should consume 3 cups per day.3Â Whole, reduced-fat (2%), low-fat (1%) and fat-free milk all provide the same package of vitamins and minerals; the only difference is the amount of fat.
Of the five important nutrients cited in the Dietary Guidelines as nutrients of concern because of inadequate intake by children and adolescents (calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamin E), dairy foods are a major source of three - calcium, potassium and magnesium. 3
"Since the overwhelming majority of children do not get the recommended 3 servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products, increasing their consumption to recommended levels is key to improving their overall diet quality," Kafer said.
"There are many factors for parents to consider when making dietary choices for their children," said Tanya Remer Altmann, M.D., FAAP and author of the upcoming book Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents' Top 101 Questions About Babies and Toddlers (American Academy of Pediatrics, October 2008). "Based on these new AAP recommendations, parents should consult their pediatrician to determine the right type of dairy products for their family."
For more information on the health benefits of dairy foods, visit www.NationalDairyCouncil.org and visit www.3aday.org for recipes and tips to help children consume the recommended 3 to 4 servings of dairy each day. To view the AAP's new clinical report "Lipid Screening and Cardiovascular Health in Childhood," visit http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/122/1/198.
1 Daniels SR, Greer FR and the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Lipid Screening and cardiovascular health in childhood. Pediatrics 2008;122 198-208.
2 American Academy of Pediatrics, Optimizing bone health and calcium intakes of infants, children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2006; 117(2):578-585.
3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. 6th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 2005.