Cholesterol Levels in US Youth Better Than 20 Years Ago
After 20 years, strategies to prevent heart disease appear to be working, based on new data showing a favorable trend in the cholesterol levels of children and teens in the United States.
Using cross-sectional data, Brian Kit, MD, of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics in Hyatsville, Maryland, and colleagues examined serum levels from 16,116 children and teens who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 3 periods: 1988-1994, 1999-2002, and 2007-2010.
From 1988 to 2010, average total cholesterol (TC) levels fell significantly from 165 mg/dL to 160 mg/dL. Reductions were also seen in the prevalence of elevated TC levels, from 11.3% to 8.1%. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels increased, on average, from 50.5 mg/dL to 52.2 mg/dL. Children between 12 and 19-years-old also had decreases in mean low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (from 95 mg/dL to 90 mg/dL) and in geometric mean triglycerides (from 82 mg/dL to 73 mg/dL).
Despite these advances, 22% of participants from between 2007 and 2010 still have low HDL levels (lower than 40 mg/dL) or high non-HDL levels (200 mg/dL or higher).