Cholesterol Guidelines Kids – All Kids between the ages of 9 and 11 should be screened for high cholesterol, according to new guidelines endorsed by the nation’s leading group of pediatricians.
Cardiovascular disease is rare in children, but risk factors that may be present in childhood can greatly increase the risk of developing heart disease in adulthood, experts note.
The new guidelines were written by a panel sponsored by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They will give health-care providers an integrated plan to deal with all the major cardiovascular disease risk factors as part of regular child health visits, according to the AAP.
“The more we learn about heart disease and stroke in adults, the more we know that the process begins in childhood and progresses over time,” Dr. Stephen R. Daniels, chairman of the panel that reviewed the guidelines, said in an AAP news release.
The cholesterol screening recommendation is a significant change from the previous guidelines released in 1992, which suggested screening only for children with a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol.
In May, the National Lipid Association made a similar recommendation, calling for all children to be screened for high cholesterol when they’re 9 to 11 years old. That group also urges that children with a family history of premature cardiovascular disease or elevated cholesterol be screened for cholesterol with a simple blood test as early as age 2.
In January 2010, a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 20 percent of American children and teens have abnormal lipid levels — an indication of too much bad (LDL) cholesterol, too little good (HDL) cholesterol or high triglycerides, which are blood fats.
For the widespread screening called for in the new guidelines, doctors can use a non-HDL cholesterol test that does not require children to fast. Children with abnormal results on this test should be followed up with a fasting lipid profile, according to the guidelines.