freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger Give 10-year-olds statins, says US study | Christine Morgan - Journalist
+44 (0)7931 342850

If Health Secretary Andrew Lansley thinks the UK has been nannied by the state for too long, he should take a look at what some US health experts are saying. For instance, doctors from West Virginia University are calling for all children to be screened for cholesterol problems – and that those who show they may be at risk for developing heart disease later in life should be routinely prescribed statins (cholesterol-lowering medication).

Whoah. Does that sound a bit creepy, or is it just me? And we thought we had a problem with the number of over-50s on statins in this country. Imagine loads of 10-year-olds popping them too.

The West Virginian docs discovered that one percent of all fifth-graders (10-year-olds to the rest of us) had cholesterol levels so high that they should be given drug treatment (which itself is fairly depressing). A third of those children didn’t come from families with a history of heart disease or cholesterol, which means they would have been missed by current screening guidelines (confusingly there are two guidelines in the States, one says children with a family history of high cholesterol should be screened, while the other says there’s no merit in screening children at all). The study was published in the journal Pediatrics, if you were wondering.

Sure there may be a few extreme cases where children that young might have to be put on statins, but to medicate one percent of all 10-year-olds just in case they develop heart disease when they’re in their 40s or 50s, that’s just bonkers. Or am I the only one who thinks so?