Experts now recommend screening of children for high cholesterol at as early as 9-11 years of age and again between 17-21 years. The doctors are not very sure whether the early screening could be of any help in preventing heart attacks decades later. However they feel that waiting might be too late for children with hidden risks. 1/3 of U.S. children and teens are obese which increases the likelihood of high cholesterol and diabetes.
Fat deposition in the arteries begin during childhood but the arteries usually harden and causes symptoms later in life. By fourth grade, 10-13% of US children have high cholesterol with a score of 200 or more. 50% of these children with high cholesterol will also have it as adults, raising the risk of heart disease.
The panel also recommends diabetes screening every 2-years starting as
early as 9 years for children who are overweight and have other risks for
Type-2 diabetes, including family history.
This expert panel was appointed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.