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Study Shows Good News About Kids’ Cholesterol

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

A new study offers some reassuring news on the childhood obesity battle: less than one percent of American teens are likely to need cholesterol drugs.

The new study, published in Circulation, helps set aside concerns that “many, many” children might need cholesterol drugs, said Dr. Stephen Daniels, lead author of guidelines issued last year by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Researchers looked at data from about 10,000 children who took part in the national government-funded health survey from 1996 to 2006. Of those, about 2,700 in the 12-to-17-year old group had LDL, or “bad cholesterol” levels measured. About 5 to 7 percent of those had elevated LDL.

Then researchers then checked those numbers against the guidelines issued by the AAP. About 0.8 percent fit the profile of those needing treatment with cholesterol-lowering drugs.

“I think it provides some perspective on the issue,” said lead study author Dr. Earl Ford, medical officer in the U.S. Public Health Service.

Dr. William Scott, a pediatrics professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said that unless a child has a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol, regular exercise and an appropriate diet will help keep cholesterol in check.

“You are really empowered by your diet and activity,” said Dr. Scott.

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