For six years, researchers studied more than 270 boys and girls ages five and six. The children were reportedly all of normal weight with a quarter of them having high levels of cholesterol.
By the end of the study, researchers found nearly half of the girls with high cholesterol were overweight or obese. That's compared to just 21 percent of the girls with normal cholesterol levels.
Researchers say the findings may now help lead them to strategies to detect and prevent obesity in children at risk.
They add that high cholesterol in childhood can set children up for heart disease and other problems as they get older.
The study was conducted by the children's hospital in Philadelphia and is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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