Cholesterol check can guage heart disease risk among obese kids

Washington, Aug 29 (Inditop.com) Rampant childhood obesity in the US has spurred concerns that such youngsters need to be screened for increased risk of heart disease, including high cholesterol levels.

However, body fat is not an effective indicator of high cholesterol in children, according to a new study led by University of Michigan (U-M) paediatricians Joyce Lee and Matthew Davis.

“We found, actually, that using body mass index to find kids with high cholesterol does not work well. There were many overweight and obese kids who had normal cholesterol, and there were a fair number of healthy-weight kids who had high cholesterol,” says Lee.

The study was conducted after the American Academy of Paediatrics revised its cholesterol screening guidelines in July 2008, advocating a cholesterol check for kids who have increased risk of heart disease.

For the most part, that means all children who are overweight or obese, which is about 30 percent of children in the US.

The authors based their study on national data from thousands of children to see whether body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight, can be used as a reliable way to find kids with high cholesterol levels.

They looked at the relationship between BMI and two different cholesterol measures, including total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, that is “bad” cholesterol, said an U-M release.

The study appeared in the August edition of the Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine.