Plasma Cholesterol and Triglyceride Distributions in 13,665 Children and Adolescents: the Prevalence Study of the Lipid Research Clinics Program

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SummaryThe age-, race-, and sex-specific distributions for plasma cholesterol (CH) and triglyceride (TG) are described for the 13,655 individuals under 20 years of age who were examined at the first visit (visit I) of the Prevalence Study of the Lipid Research Clinics (LRC) Program. Composite findings are presented from the seven North American LRC's where children were included in the target population. Cholesterol values are higher for blacks than for whites, but triglyceride values are higher for whites than for blacks. In both the CH and TG distributions for the combined races, the mean values for females are generally higher than for males. For cholesterol, consistent age-associated differences occur. On average, the CH values peak in late childhood and decline during adolescence. The decrease in mean values for CH is most marked for white males. The values for TG tend to increase in early adolescence. This report expands the available information about lipid distributions in young populations and describes the extent of the variation in plasma lipids associated with race and sex for each year of age, 0 to 19 years.SpeculationThe pattern of age-associated differences found in these population-based, cross-sectional surveys points to the need for prospective studies of lipid levels in cohorts examined before puberty and followed throughout adolescence and into early childhood. Such longitudinal studies may reveal the biological explanation for the age-curve of the mean values for lipids.

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