1 in 3 US kids has borderline or high cholesterol

April 10, 2014

About 1 of every 3 children in the United States aged between 9 and 11 years has a borderline or deleterious cholesterol profile, according to research presented at the recent annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

 

About 1 of every 3 children in the United States aged between 9 and 11 years has a borderline or deleterious cholesterol profile, according to research presented at the recent annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

In their study presented as a poster on March 31, 2014, as part of ACC’s 63rd Scientific Session held in Washington, DC, the researchers examined the medical records of more than 12,000 children receiving cholesterol screenings at Texas Children’s Pediatrics Associates clinics. They found that almost one-third (30%) of the screened children had a borderline or elevated total cholesterol level using thresholds set by the National Cholesterol Education Program.

Experts know that while overt cardiovascular disease is rare in children, risk factors for adult heart disease and conditions such as atherosclerosis can begin in childhood.

The researchers also found that boys were more likely than girls to have elevated total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Girls tended to have lower levels of the protective high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol than boys.

Compared with children of normal weight, obese children were more likely to have elevated total cholesterol, LDL, and triglyceride levels and lower HDL levels. Also, 9- to 11-year-old Hispanic children were more likely to have elevated triglycerides and lower HDL levels than non-Hispanic children.

According to the ACC, the investigators hope their findings prompt more pediatricians to adhere to the calls of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the American Academy of Pediatrics for universal cholesterol screening of children aged between 9 and 11 years and again between ages 17 and 21 years.

The researchers note that because universal pediatric cholesterol screening recommendations were published during the second year of their study, it is impossible to know whether the children in their research represent a random sample or whether they were selected for screening because of specific risk factors, such as family history.

 

 

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