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The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) issued this data about adult guidelines for total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff), and HDL cholesterol (the good stuff). These cholesterol numbers apply to people ages 20 to 74:

Total Cholesterol (mg/dL) Status
<200 Excellent
200-239 Borderline high
>240 High
LDL Cholesterol (mg/dL) Status
<100 Excellent
100-129 Pretty good
130-159 Borderline high
160-189 High
>190 Very high
HDL Cholesterol (mg/dL) Status
<40 Low
>60 High

Source: National Cholesterol Education Program

Counting Kids' Cholesterol

Counting cholesterol in kids is different than in adults. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests only testing children older than age 2 and who have a family history of coronary artery disease — a parent or a grandparent with high cholesterol or a history of heart disease. The AHA-recommended cholesterol levels for children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19 are:

Total Cholesterol (mg/dL) LDLs (mg/dL) Status
<170 <110 Acceptable
171-199 111-129 Borderline
200 or higher 130 or higher High

Source: The American Heart Association

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