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Medical News & Perspectives
August 22/29, 2012

Experts Question Recommendations for Universal Lipid Screenings in Children

JAMA. 2012;308(8):750-751. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.9860

Recommendations for universal lipid screening of children, presented late last year by a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) panel, are drawing new criticism. The aim of the screening is to detect and treat abnormal cholesterol levels in childhood in hopes of reducing cardiovascular disease risk much later in life.

The recommendations, published in December 2011 and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, call for universal screening of 9- to 11-year-old children with a nonfasting lipid panel, plus targeted screening with 2 fasting lipid profiles of children ages 2 to 8 years and 12 to 16 years (involving between 30% and 40% of all children). Previous recommendations called for screening only children considered high risk using a nonfasting total cholesterol test.