Docs Push Cholesterol Tests for Kids

New rules advise testing as young as 2, treating with statins at 8
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 7, 2008 6:49 AM CDT
A child walks with her family after exercising in a program to help families with overweight children get healthier, March 6, 2007, in Dallas. 30% of American children are overweight.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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(Newser) – With 30% of US children overweight, pediatricians are now recommending cholesterol screenings for kids as young as 2, and the use of cholesterol-fighting drugs in youngsters 8 and up, in order to stave off diabetes and early heart attacks. Some 30%-60% of children with high cholesterol aren’t being treated, the American Academy of Pediatrics says, and those with family histories of cardiovascular problems should be screened and treated.

Despite the lack of data on the subject, it appears the cholesterol drugs, called statins, are safe for kids, a nutrition expert tells the New York Times. "We are in an epidemic,” she notes. “The risk of giving statins at a lower age is less than the benefit you’re going to get out of it.”