Kids & Cholesterol: Call for Early Action
Researchers Want Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs and Diet to Begin in Childhood
WebMD News Archive
Young Children and Statins continued...
Daniels, who is chairman of the department of pediatrics at the University
of Colorado, Denver School of Medicine, was a principal author of the revised
AAP guidelines. He is also a spokesman for the American Heart Association.
Daniels says only a tiny percentage of children have LDL levels high enough
to make drug treatment an option, but he agrees that earlier treatment could
have long-term benefits.
"Pediatricians and family physicians should be aware that
atherosclerosis can begin very early in life leading to heart disease much
earlier in adulthood," he says. "Early lifestyle interventions, and
possibly drugs, can reduce this risk."
Cholesterol-Lowering Strategy for Kids
In their analysis, Steinberg and University of California, San Diego
colleagues Christopher K. Glass, MD, PhD, and Joseph L. Witztum, MD, call for
more aggressive cholesterol-lowering strategies for both children and young
Current guidelines call for adults with high risk for heart attacks and
other cardiac events to strive for an LDL level of 70 mg/dL or below, but the
three researchers argue that 50 mg/dL or below may be a more appropriate
"That goal is currently attainable in many patients with the treatment
regimens now available, which include statins alone or in combination with
other [cholesterol-lowering] drugs," they write.
With regard to lifestyle interventions, the researchers advocate a
diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol for everyone, including babies as
young as 7 months.
Until last month, the AAP recommended that children between the ages of 1
and 2 drink only whole milk, but the new guidelines do not include this
"The idea was to give pediatricians a little more flexibility,"
Daniels says. "Recommending whole milk should be a judgment call based on
considerations like family [heart disease] history and obesity."