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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Middle Age Comes To Teens

A recent CDC study has suggested that at least 20 percent of US teens ages 12 to 19 have at least one abnormal lipid level, suggesting they are at risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death among adults in the United States.

Data for the report come from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) which is an ongoing study with 6,000 participants every year. For this report researchers analyzed "bad" cholesterol (LDL-C); "good" cholesterol (HDL-C) , and triglycerides finding that overweight youth were more likely to have at least one abnormal lipid level than normal weight youth.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend lipid screening for young people with a family history of high blood cholesterol or premature cardiovascular disease, or the presence of at least one major risk factor for heart disease, such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity. They also found that boys were more likely to have abnormal lipid levels.

Given that childhood obesity has been steadily increasing, these results suggest that youth with risk factors should be screened for cholesterol, just like the rest of us middle-agers!

Photo credit: skyenicolas
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.