(HealthDay News) — Lipid testing rates in kids are well below what would be expected given national guidelines, according to a study published in the May 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on child health. This issue was released early to coincide with the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from May 3–6 in Vancouver, Canada.

Samuel R. Vinci, from Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues used the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (1995–2010) to examine rates and correlates of testing as well as testing trends before and after the 2007 U.S. Preventative Service Task Force and 2008 American Association of Pediatrics cholesterol statements.

The researchers found that clinicians ordered cholesterol testing in 3.4% of 10,159 health maintenance visits. From 1995–2010, testing rates increased only slightly, from 2.5 to 3.2% (P=0.03 for unadjusted trend). By utilizing 2009 census data combined with 2011 guidelines, approximately 35% of patients would be eligible for lipid screening annually. Following the release the statements the odds of testing did not increase (adjusted odds ratio, 0.77 [95% confidence interval, 0.36–1.65] for 2009–2010 vs. 1995–2006). Children who were older, taller, obese, black, or lived in the South or Northeast were more likely to have had testing ordered.

“In a nationally representative sample of ambulatory visits, we found low rates of cholesterol testing during pediatric health maintenance visits,” the authors write.

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