May 22, 2013 9:19 AM by Marissa Torres
Some doctors are pushing parents to get a life-saving test for children, as young as 10, that could prevent them from having a heart attack.
You wouldn't know it to watch her compete in cheerleading, but 13 year old Kennedy Jefferson could easily be on track for a heart attack in her 20's or 30's.
"You wouldn't have looked at her and thought she had any, nothing wrong, I mean, everything else across the board is fine," says Kennedy's mother, Cara.
Except Kennedy's cholesterol.
"Anything over 200 is too high and hers was about 360 I wanna say. Yeah, through the roof."
Cara had the same problem as a kid and still does.
"I had to watch what I eat. I couldn't eat ice cream like the other little kids all the time."
That's why Cara had Kennedy's cholesterol tested when she was just 7.
"They did give me a hard time about testing her. They didn't want to draw her blood. it was a good thing that I did."
Turns out, The American Academy of Pediatrics thinks all kids between 9 and 11 should have their cholesterol checked too.
"Family history of early heart disease, hyper tension, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and also body mass index above the 97th percentile." says pediatrician, Dr. Mona Zawaideh.
But even kids who aren't obese can still be at risk.
"A big proportion has to do with genetics. You are born with your genes. That doesn't just develop because you became obese."
"Since I was born with it, there's not really anything I can do." adds Kennedy.
One thing she can do is stick to a healthy diet. She's also been put on the cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor. According to research, early intervention can dramatically reverse the damage to a young persons arteries.