Study Says Kids Should Be Screened for Cholesterol

When I think high cholesterol, my mind tends to gravitate toward people over thirty-five, but a recent study conducted by West Virginia University discovered children are at equal risk when it comes dangerous LDL cholesterol levels.

The study, which examined 20,266 children, discovered that 36% of the screened kids would not have been screened otherwise and were at risk from high LDL cholesterol. These kids required treatment such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, monitored diet and increased exercise.

Chairman of pediatrics at University of Colorado School of Medicine, Stephen Daniels, noted that the majority of children who take cholesterol lowering drugs have high cholesterol as a result of genetic conditions, not poor diet choices and lack of exercise.

There is no denying many of our nation’s children suffer from inactivity, poor diet and health issues as a result of childhood obesity, but I find it a little odd that the results from this study appeared shortly after Pfizer began marketing chewable Lipitor in Europe. Lipitor is a cholesterol lowering drug often prescribed to patients suffering from high levels of LDL cholesterol.

On the other hand, with nearly 20% of America’s children tipping the childhood obesity scales, many of these children are already at risk for life-threatening diseases like Type 2 diabetes and eventual heart disease. Current childhood cholesterol screenings are only recommended for children who come from families with a history of heart disease and high cholesterol, but there are obvious benefits to cholesterol screenings.

Should cholesterol screenings become a part of yearly pediatric check-up regimens? What are your thoughts?