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20 Percent of U.S. Youths Have Abnormal Lipid Levels

Problem increases with increasing weight; many youths are candidates for lipid screening

FRIDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- One in five 12- to 19-year-olds in the United States has at least one abnormal lipid level, which is a major risk factor for future heart disease, according to a study in the Jan. 22 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Ashleigh May, Ph.D., of the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from 3,125 youths, aged 12 to 19 years, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 1999 to 2006. The researchers analyzed measurements of low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein, and triglycerides.

The investigators found that the prevalence of abnormal lipid levels among the youths was 20.3 percent. The prevalence varied by body mass index; specifically, 14.2 percent of normal-weight youths, 22.3 percent of overweight youths, and 42.9 percent of obese youths had at least one abnormal lipid level. The researchers pointed out that 32 percent of the youths had a high body mass index, making them candidates for lipid screening under American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.

"Untreated abnormal lipid levels in childhood and adolescence are linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease in adulthood. Targeted screening of youths for abnormal lipid levels can identify those youths who might benefit from interventions that reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease," the authors write.

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