Prevalence of abnormal lipid levels among youths --- United States, 1999-2006

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010 Jan 22;59(2):29-33.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among adults in the United States. CVD risk factors, including abnormal lipid levels and elevated body mass index (BMI), often emerge during childhood and adolescence. In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) established recommendations for targeted screening of youths aged >or=2 years for abnormal blood lipid levels. To provide prevalence data on abnormal lipid levels among youths, eligibility for lipid screening based on BMI, and eligibility for therapeutic lifestyle counseling among overweight youths, CDC analyzed results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for 1999-2006. This report describes the results of that analysis, which found that the prevalence of abnormal lipid levels among youths aged 12-19 years was 20.3%. This prevalence varied by BMI; 14.2% of normal weight youths, 22.3% of overweight and 42.9% of obese had at least one abnormal lipid level. Among all youths, 32% had a high BMI and therefore would be candidates for lipid screening under AAP recommendations. Given the high prevalence of abnormal lipid levels among youths who are overweight and obese in this study, clinicians should be aware of lipid screening guidelines, especially recommendations for screening youths who are overweight or obese.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Child
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / epidemiology*
  • Hyperlipidemias / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / blood
  • Overweight / blood
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides