In light of the epidemic of childhood obesity, the American Academy of Pediatrics (“AAP”) has issued new cholesterol screening and treatment recommendations for children.
The new policy statement recommends cholesterol screening of children and adolescents with a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease. It also recommends screening patients whose family history is unknown or those who have other factors for heart disease including obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes.
Screening should take place after age two, but no later than age 10. The best method for testing is a fasting lipid profile. If a child has values within the normal range, testing should be repeated in three to five years. For children who are more than eight years old and who have high LDL concentrations, cholesterol-reducing medications should be considered. Younger patients with elevated cholesterol readings should focus on weight reduction and increased activity while receiving nutritional counseling.
The statement also recommends the use of reduced-fat dairy products, such as two percent milk, for children as young as one year of age for whom overweight or obesity is a concern.