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One-third of adolescents in the U. S. have a cholesterol problem

Almost 33 percent of adolescents in the United States have an undetected and untreated cholesterol problem according to research conducted by Dr. Thomas Seery, pediatric cardiologist at Texas Children's Hospital, that was presented at the March 28, 2014, session of the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session.

Obama pointed out that the Affordable Care Act that will require new health plans to cover the cost of preventive screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Obama pointed out that the Affordable Care Act that will require new health plans to cover the cost of preventive screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff-Pool/Getty Images

The conclusion was based on a sampling of 12,712 children between the ages of nine and 12 by the Texas Children's Pediatrics Associates clinics. Normally cholesterol screening is not considered necessary for children unless there is an associated cardiovascular risk.

The researchers found that 30 percent of the children that participated in the sample testing had one or more cholesterol problems.

Males had higher levels of elevated total cholesterol, higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and higher triglyceride levels. Females had lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

Obesity increased the problems in both sexes. All children of Hispanic origin had a tendency toward elevated triglycerides and lower HDL that was in line with a previous study of Hispanic adults.

Seery and colleagues argue for early testing of cholesterol in children at the age of nine and again at age 17. The concept is prevention of heart disease. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports this change in tactics but most medical practitioners wish to avoid the unnecessary prescribing of cholesterol modifying medications to young children.