Originally created 08/04/98

Exercise, education reduce children's cholesterol levels



Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, developed a school-based program to help reduce children's cholesterol levels that they say is easy and inexpensive:

--Teachers were given school kits prepared by the American Heart Association that contain age-appropriate heart and nutrition education. This became health class twice a week, as teachers explained what cholesterol was and which foods are high in fat and gave commonsense nutritional tips like choosing low-fat milk.

--Three times a week, children had gym class with 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, such as jumping rope, playing tag or racing relays. Researchers gave each school $100 to buy fitness equipment, and, for a few schools with no gym teachers, paid to hire instructors.

--The children's cholesterol levels dropped significantly after two months of the classes, a study showed.