For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that some children ages 8 and older receive drugs to reduce cholesterol. The aim is preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adulthood.
The clinical guidelines also include cholesterol screening recommendations and a detailed discussion of dietary, lifestyle, and other nonpharmacologic approaches to controlling obesity in children. The guidelines are based on new evidence that shows that damage leading to CVD begins early in life.
The guidelines recommend screening for all children and adolescents with a family history of dyslipidemia or premature CVD. Kids who are overweight or obese and have other risk factors should also be screened. Screenings should begin after age 2 but no later than age 10. Therapy with a statin or another lipid-lowering drug would be reserved for children ages 8 and older who meet certain treatment criteria, such as a low-density lipoprotein level of 190 mg/dL or more.
For more information, visit http://www.aap.org.
Source: Daniels SR, et al., Lipid Screening and Cardiovascular Health in Childhood, Pediatrics, July 2008.