February 3, 2010 (Atlanta, Georgia) — New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that one in five youths aged 12 to 19 years has abnormal lipid levels . Also, nearly one-third of these youths are obese or overweight and based on their body-mass index (BMI) are candidates for lipid screening, according to investigators.
In an editorial accompanying the new report , the CDC urges clinicians to be aware of the lipid screening guidelines so that interventions for overweight or obese children and youths can be recommended. "Healthcare providers can refer eligible youths to nutritional counseling, community fitness programs, and school-based lifestyle programs," writes the CDC.
The new report, from a combined sample of four National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) surveys taken from 1999 to 2006, includes data on 9187 youths, of which 3733 provided fasting blood samples for lipid testing.
Among the sample, 20% had at least one abnormal lipid measurement, such as elevated LDL cholesterol (>130 mg/dL), reduced HDL cholesterol (<35 mg/dL), or elevated triglyceride levels (>150 mg/dL). Researchers also showed that compared with normal-weight youths, those who were overweight or obese were significantly more likely to have at least one abnormal lipid measurement.
In addition to these findings, the CDC report also showed that boys were more likely than girls to have low HDL cholesterol, while older youths, those aged 18 to 19 years, were more likely to have low HDL and elevated triglyceride levels than kids aged 12 or 13 years.
The researchers point out that, based on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) screening recommendations, 32% of youths would be eligible for lipid screening based solely on their BMI. The AAP recommends screening based on family history of high cholesterol or premature cardiovascular disease or an unknown family history of high cholesterol or premature disease, as well as the presence of at least one major cardiovascular disease risk factor, including overweight/obesity.