Cholesterol Screening for Children as Early as Age 2?

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending cholesterol screening of children and adolescents, starting as early as the age of 2 and no later than the age of 10, especially if they come from families with a history of high cholesterol or heart attacks before 55 for men and 65 for women.

The AAP’s recommendation does not come without extensive criticism, especially where as reported in the NYTimes, “there is no evidence to show whether giving statins [cholesterol treatment] to a child will lower the risk for heart attack in middle age.”

The Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP), is also reporting a “blacklash” of additional criticism from health care professionals concerning the AAP’s new guidelines. As expressed by Dr. Sanghavi from the University of Massachusetts, “We’re talking about potentially treating thousands and thousands of children simply to possibly prevent one heart attack … that kind of risk benefit calculation is entirely absent from the A.A.P.’s policy.”

It remains to be seen as to whether the AAP’s cholesterol guidelines will become widely accepted, in the short-term, it raises significant normative questions as to whether or not cholesterol screening/treatment is appropriate for children.