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New Policy on Cholesterol Screening for Chidren

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued new recommendations that include cholesterol screening for children and teens with a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease. It recommends screening kids whose family history is unknown as well, 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, says the AAP. The best method for testing is a fasting lipid profile, which involves a simple blood test. 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 concentrations of LDL (bad cholesterol), cholesterol-reducing medications should be considered, says the AAP. (Healthier eating and increased activity would also be recommended, of course).

Children under age eight with elevated cholesterol readings should focus on weight reduction and increased activity while they receive nutritional counseling, the AAP advises.

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.

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