According to a recent study, new guidelines recommending cholesterol tests for children fail to weight health benefits against potential harms and costs.
Moreover, the recommendations are based on expert opinion, rather than solid evidence, the researchers said, which is especially problematic since the guidelines' authors disclosed extensive potential conflicts of interest.
The guidelines were written by a panel assembled by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and published in Pediatrics, in November 2011. They also were endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The guidelines call for universal screening of all 9 to 11-year-old children with a non-fasting lipid panel, and targeted screening of 30 to 40 percent of 2 to 8-year-old and 12 to 16-year old children with two fasting lipid profiles. Previous recommendations called only for children considered at high risk of elevated levels to be screened with a simple non-fasting total cholesterol test.