Physicians beware of high lipid levels in youth

February 1, 2010

High lipid levels may be a common theme among 20% of US children and teenagers, as reflected by high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, or high triglycerides, according to the CDC.

High lipid levels appear to be a common theme among 20% of US children and teenagers, as reflected by high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, or high triglycerides, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The abnormal lipid levels may elevate young people's risk for cardiovascular disorders.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers led by Ashleigh May, an epidemic intelligence service officer with the CDC, reviewed lipid levels for 3,125 children and youth aged 12 to 19 years involved in the survey from 1999 to 2006.

Results showed that children and teens who were overweight or obese were more likely to have abnormal lipid levels compared with youths who were normal weight. Abnormal lipid levels were common among 22% of overweight children and teens and 43% of obese children and teens compared with 14% of the normal-weight participants.

"We really need to identify youth early who have these abnormal lipid levels so we can reduce their risk for later heart disease," May said.