In DepthCHILDREN'S HEALTH

Cholesterol screening for kids sparks debate (again)

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Science  26 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6302, pp. 855
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6302.855

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Summary

A long-simmering dispute over whether every school-age child in the United States should be tested for high cholesterol erupted again earlier this month, after a national task force said there is insufficient evidence for such screening. Nearly 5 years ago the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommendations that pediatricians draw blood from all 9- to 11-year-olds and test their cholesterol levels. In strongly worded comments, several physicians welcomed the conclusions of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and upbraided AAP for a position whose health benefits they consider inadequate to justify the medical risks and financial costs of cholesterol screening in all kids. AAP representatives say they stand by screening, although they acknowledge the unknowns.