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Researchers speak out over cholesterol testing guidelines for children

Category: General Wellness

Cholesterol tests for kids can go a long way in letting parents know about their child's potential health issues, allowing moms and dads to take early, proactive measures against poor heart health. However, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco are suggesting that widespread blood lipid screening among youth may not be necessary.

The team of scientists authored a commentary in the journal Pediatrics, in which they state that recent recommendations for all 9- to 11-year olds and 30 to 40 percent of children aged 2 to 8 and 12 to 16 to receive cholesterol tests may be too extreme.

Main reasons for the researchers' disagreement with the guidelines include high costs and potential burdens on both parents and kids. Specifically, they said it tends to be difficult to get children to fast for the appropriate time prior to a blood test.

"This requires getting hungry young children to the doctor's office to be poked with needles on two additional occasions, generally weekday mornings. Families are going to ask their doctors, 'Is this really necessary?" said Thomas Newman, M.D.

Parents who are concerned about their children's cardiovascular health may find that online blood testing is a more convenient way to check kids' cholesterol levels than visiting the doctor.

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