Should children be tested for high cholesterol?
Answers from Stephen Kopecky, M.D.
Yes. A report by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends cholesterol screening for children between the ages of 9 and 11, and again between the ages of 17 and 21. The AAP also recommends targeted screening for children as young as 2 if they have certain risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or an immediate family member with premature heart disease.
It's important to follow these recommendations. Strong evidence indicates that the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries — a condition known as atherosclerosis — begins in childhood and slowly progresses into adulthood. If your child's cholesterol levels are high, talk with your child's doctor about possible interventions, such as losing weight, eating healthy foods and getting enough physical activity.
Stephen Kopecky, M.D.
July 04, 2014
- Children and cholesterol. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/UnderstandYourRiskforHighCholesterol/Children-and-Cholesterol_UCM_305567_Article.jsp. Accessed Mar. 3, 2014.
- De Ferranti S, et al. NHLBI guidelines on cholesterol in kids: What's new and how does this change practice? AAP News. 2012;33:1.
- Newman TB, et al. Overly aggressive new guidelines for lipid screening in children: Evidence of a broken process. Pediatrics. 2012;130:349.