Nutritional Concepts
eNewsletter July 15,2008

AAP's Strong Stance on Cholesterol Drugs
for Children.
Dear Valued Client,

My apologies if the image seems dark and out of focus. However, this perfectly exhibits my mood when the American Academy of Pediatrics released their cholesterol screening guidelines last week.

On a positive note, there have been several recent studies on prevention that I am excited about.

Lastly, since alcoholic beverage makers are not required to list calories on their labels, I think you will find this chart helpful.

Statins for Kids

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their guidelines for Lipid Screening and Cardiovascular Health in Childhood. They have strengthened their opinion on introducing pharmaceutical intervention. Quotes and observations:
  • "It is difficult to develop an evidence-based approach for the specific age at which pharmacologic treatment should be implemented."
  • "It is not known whether there is an age at which development of the atherosclerotic process is accelerated."
  • Taking the first two comments into consideration, the AAP still suggests the following: "For patients 8 years and older with an LDL concentration of ≥190 mg/dL (or ≥160 mg/dL with a family history of early heart disease or ≥2 additional risk factors present or ≥130 mg/dL if diabetes mellitus is present), pharmacologic intervention should be considered. The initial goal is to lower LDL concentration to <160 mg/dL. However, targets as low as 130 mg/dL or even 110 mg/dL may be warranted when there is a strong family history of CVD, especially with other risk factors including obesity,diabetes mellitus, the metabolic syndrome, and other higher-risk situations."
  • To their credit, the AAP does mention that "the individual approach for children and adolescents at higher risk for CVD and with a high concentration of LDL includes recommended changes in diet with nutritional counseling and other lifestyle interventions such as increased physical activity."
While nothing ceases to amaze me anymore, this is something I anticipated. Much of the country qualified for statins when the National Cholesterol Education Program reduced optimal cholesterol levels in 2004. It was just a matter of time until it trickled down to children.

What is most egregious about the AAP guideline is the lack of safety studies done on children and statins. Statins suppress mitochondrial function in the cell and we have no idea how that may affect children that are still maturing. It is one thing not to perform long-term drug studies in adults, but when this is done to our children, it is downright criminal.

While the guidelines do mention plant sterols and stanols as a dietary supplement therapy, there is no mention of fish oil or other alternatives.

Is the AAP throwing in the towel in trying to help change the eating and lifestyle habits of our children? Or, are they using the pharmaceutical recommendation as a scare tactic? Or, are they simply making more Americans available to statin therapy? I sincerely hope that the majority of physicians who belong to this organization do not implement these guidelines.


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Related Links
-Meds that deplete nutrients
-150% jump in statin use
-Whitaker on cholesterol
-Source of statin side-effects
-Low cholesterol & cancer risk
-Statins a problem for the brain
-Cholesterol values questioned

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Bonnie, Steve, and the staff