About one American child or adolescent out of every five has at least one abnormal cholesterol measurement, including high cholesterol levels or low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, new federal data shows.
A new report released by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) looked at the prevalence of high total cholesterol, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and high non-HDL cholesterol among kids and adolescents between the ages of 6 to 19. They found that low HDL cholesterol was the most common abnormality and that overall, cholesterol deviances were more common among adolescents than children.
Among the kids and adolescents, 7.4% had high total cholesterol. The researchers also found that youth with obesity were most likely to have problems related to their cholesterol levels. While the numbers may seem unexpected, the NCHS says all three measurements have declined among kids over time.
Cholesterol measurements are used as an indicator of heart disease, and since cholesterol abnormalities in childhood can sometimes continue into adulthood, public health groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend monitoring cholesterol in kids.
“Hypertension is an epidemic that is reaching younger and younger populations,” says Dr. Maan Fares, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic (who was not involved in the study). “[The findings] come as a relative surprise, but it’s not entirely surprising. It’s beyond what I would have expected but not much worse. My speculation is that obesity and lifestyle for the most part are playing a role in this.”
- 2022 Time100 NEXT: TIME’s List Of Emerging Leaders Who Are Shaping the Future
- Industrial Farming Causes Climate Change. The ‘Slow Food’ Movement Wants to Stop It
- What Reading 220 History Textbooks Taught One Scholar About Racism in America
- Artist Oliver Jeffers Wants to Paint the World Out of a Corner
- A Vibrant North Korean Community in London Finds Its Days Are Numbered
- COVID-19 Vaccines Can Make Periods Longer, Study Says
- Column: What Happened When My Entire Family Came Out
- How DeSantis Handles Hurricane Ian Will Shape His Political Future
- 6 Groups Making Mental Health Care More Accessible to People of Color