Author Affiliations: Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Department of Medicine (Dr Psaty), Department of Epidemiology (Drs Psaty and Rivara), Department of Pediatrics (Dr Rivara), University of Washington, Seattle; Group Health Research Institute, Seattle (Dr Psaty); and Center for Child Health Behavior and Development, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle (Dr Rivara).
Over the last few decades, the theory that adult diseases begin in childhood has been widely discussed. Smoking, the most common underlying cause of death for adults in the United States, begins before the age of 18 years in the majority of adult smokers. Obesity has become the largest health problem in the United States, and the difficulty of long-term weight loss for obese children and adolescents means that many of them will be overweight as adults. The rationale for considering cardiovascular disease prevention efforts in childhood is compelling. Not only do risk factors track from childhood into adult life, but the development and progression of atherosclerosis, which often starts in childhood, are also directly related to the number of risk factors and their severity.
Psaty BM, Rivara FP. Universal Screening and Drug Treatment of Dyslipidemia in Children and Adolescents. JAMA. 2012;307(3):257-258. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1916