This article describes the validity and utility of screening tests for total cholesterol levels in school-age children to predict those who, when adults, will have cholesterol levels that the National Cholesterol Education Program suggests need continuing surveillance and intervention. Two thousand three hundred sixty-seven children aged 8 to 18 years were examined on several occasions and were followed up to ages 20 to 30 years. Of children with cholesterol concentrations exceeding the 75th percentile on two occasions, 75% of girls and 56% of boys would not qualify for intervention as adults by the National Cholesterol Education Program criteria. Of children with cholesterol levels exceeding the 90th percentile on two occasions, 57% of girls and 30% of boys would not qualify for intervention as adults. Because the efficacy, safety, acceptability, and cost of treatment for high cholesterol concentrations in childhood is evolving, the need for universal screening of childhood cholesterol levels must be considered carefully in view of the number of children with high levels of cholesterol who, as adults, do not meet the criteria for intervention suggested by the National Cholesterol Education Program.
Lauer RM, Clarke WR. Use of Cholesterol Measurements in Childhood for the Prediction of Adult HypercholesterolemiaThe Muscatine Study. JAMA. 1990;264(23):3034-3038. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450230070031