Abnormal Cholesterol Among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 2011–2014

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death among adults in the United States.

To improve the cardiovascular health of the U.S. population, clinical practice guidelines recommend screening children and adolescents for risk factors associated with CVD, including abnormal blood cholesterol levels.

An NCHS report provides 2011–2014 estimates from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on the prevalence of high total cholesterol, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and high non-HDL cholesterol among children and adolescents aged 6–19.

Findings:

  • One in five youths had high total cholesterol, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or high non-HDL cholesterol.
  • Prevalence of low HDL cholesterol (13.4%) was greater than high non-HDL cholesterol (8.4%) or high total cholesterol (7.4%).
  • Prevalence of high total cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, and high non-HDL cholesterol was greater in adolescents than children.
  • Girls had higher prevalence than boys for high total cholesterol and high non-HDL cholesterol, but lower prevalence for low HDL cholesterol.
  • Youth with obesity had greater prevalence of high total cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, and high non-HDL cholesterol than youth of normal weight.

 

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