Panel Recommends Cholesterol Screenings for Children

Recommendation one of many to optimize heart health

MONDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- New guidelines sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend screening children as young as 9 years old for high cholesterol; the guidelines have been summarized and published online Nov. 11 in Pediatrics.

Members of the Expert Panel on Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents developed evidence-based guidelines to help physicians promote cardiovascular health and identify and address risk factors from infancy into early adulthood.

A big departure from a guideline issued in the early 1990s that recommended cholesterol screening only in children with a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol, the panel's new recommendations call for cholesterol screening in children between 9 and 11 years of age and again between 17 and 21 years of age.

"It is anticipated that a universal screening will more accurately identify children who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease and allow pediatricians to follow up," panel chair Stephen R. Daniels, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement.

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