(HealthDay News) — In the years leading up to the 2011 guidelines on cardiovascular health, lipid screening was uncommon in 9–11-year-olds and was performed in a minority of 17–19-year-olds, according to a study published online August 26 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Karen L. Margolis, MD, MPH, from the HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research in Minneapolis, and colleagues assessed the frequency and results of lipid testing in 301,080 children and adolescents (aged 3–19 years) enrolled in three large U.S. health systems between 2007–2010 – before the release of the 2011 guidelines.

The researchers found that, overall, 9.8% of the study population was tested for lipids. The percent tested varied by body mass index (BMI) percentile (5.9% of normal-weight children, 10.8% of overweight children, and 26.9% of obese children) and age (8.9% of 9–11-year-olds and 24.3% of 17–19-year-olds). Among 10–19-year-olds who were tested, abnormal lipid levels were found in 8.6% for total cholesterol, 22.5% for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), 12% for non-HDL-C, 8% for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and 21% for triglycerides. The association between abnormal lipid levels and BMI was strong and graded, particularly for HDL-C and triglycerides, with a two-fold to six-fold higher odds ratio in obese children than normal-weight children.

“These data serve as a benchmark for assessing change in practice patterns after the new recommendations for pediatric lipid screening and management,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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