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Sunday, 29 May 2011

Study Recommends Cholesterol Screening for All Children


The federal government's National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends children should be tested for high cholesterol only when they have a family history of cholesterol problems, but a new study from West Virginia University suggests screening should now be performed on all children.

We’re analyzing coverage of this issue from Fox News, Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, ABC News, and Daily Freshies.

Family history is the leading cause for high cholesterol. According to
Fox News, cholesterol levels aren’t just strictly based on genetics.

ANCHOR: “…Poor lifestyle habits are sending those numbers sky high”
DIETITIAN: “Kids are moving less, eating more, and this is leading to weigh gain. And unfortunately, elevated cholesterol levels.”

The study used 20,000 fifth graders and according to
the Los Angeles Times, the study showed that:“…more than 71 percent of the children met guidelines for cholesterol screening based on family history. Among children whose family history wasn't known, 9.5 percent had high cholesterol, with 1.7 percent of those children requiring medication to treat the condition.”
According to the
Wall street Journal, the director of the study said that without universal testing:

“We would have missed 36 percent of children with seriously high LDL.”

However,
ABC News senior health and medical editor is cautious of the study’s push for universal testing.

EDITOR: “…I think it’s a big step to say that all children need screening.”
ANCHOR: “But what’s the harm, ya know, in getting screened?”
EDITOR: “Ya know, I think there is harm. You can label a child at a very young age as someone who has high cholesterol for life and needs a medication rather than focusing on the root cause. And the root cause of this, as well as so many problems in childhood and adulthood, is obesity.”

The blog,
Daily Freshies, says West Virginia was chosen because it has one of nation’s highest rates of death from heart disease and that previous standards for testing are outdated.
“…the present guidelines were set in place in the 1990s, and [at] that time, specialist predicted that high cholesterol would be ignored in as many as 25 percent of children…”


So what do you think? Do you think universal screening in all children is the answer? Or should the standards for screening remain the same?



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