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Smoke hurts kids' cholesterol status.

Children at high risk of heart disease who live in houses with smokers have significantly lower concentrations of HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol, than their counterparts living in smokefree houses, a study in the Sept. 2 Circulation finds.

Researchers recruited 103 children whose HDL concentrations placed them in the bottom fifth percentile for their age group; 28 of the children lived with at least one smoker. They had similar fat intake, degree of obesity, and amounts of exercise as the 75 children who lived in smokefree homes. Most of the children had a family history of heart disease.

Both groups had very high concentrations of LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, in their blood. HDL concentrations in children exposed to secondhand smoke, however, were only about 90 percent of those in their smokefree counterparts, says Ellis J. Neufeld, a pediatrician and hematologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

The findings indicate the need for a larger study on the effects of passive smoke on children at risk of heart problems, he says. A 10 percent change in HDL would be difficult to achieve through diet or exercise. "The next step is to convince parents to get the smoke out of the house," Neufeld says.
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Title Annotation:exposure to secondhand smoke lowers HDL cholesterol in children at risk of heart disease
Author:Seppa, Nathan
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 4, 1997
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