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Hot Topic Tuesday: Cholesterol Screenings for 9-Year-Olds?

Written on February 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm , by

The family that plays together stays (fit) together. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

There’s a lot of talk about hearts lately, seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day. Here at FITNESS, we’re strong believers that if you take care of your ticker from an early age, you’ll set your whole body on the right track for the rest of your life. But an interesting report recently published in the journal Pediatrics got us thinking: Should these healthy habits involve more than serving nutritious family dinners and making exercise a priority as a family?

If several medical professionals quoted in the report and in The New York Times have their way, cholesterol screenings may soon be the norm for anyone age 9 and older. They claim that pinpointing genetic and lifestyle risks (family history and childhood obesity, among others) for high cholesterol  at a young age can increase life expectancy and promote healthier habits.

But opponents are worried that making these screenings mandatory, rather than just suggesting them for high-risk youth, would be more than just expensive for the health care system. False positives can occur and some fear that doctors may try to “treat” obesity and high cholesterol with a pill rather than promoting healthier ways to manage weight struggles.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Now tell us: Do you think pediatricians should screen all kids, from 9 and up, for high cholesterol? Or do you think tests will lead excess stress from false positives and over-medication?

  • Ashley Deutsch

    I’m 19 years old and have been a healthy weight my entire life but have borderline high cholesterol since I was five. If I had not gotten screened when I was younger, I would not have altered my lifestyle to make sure it does not worsen. With so many health risks out there, getting scanned early gives children and families more time to improve children’s chance at living a healthy and long life.