The Kiddie Cholesterol Debate

Should cholesterol drugs be given to children? New guidelines have caused a stir among doctors and parents

Samantha Appleton / NOOR for TIME

More overweight kids could get prescriptions for cholesterol-lowering drugs at clinics like this one in Boston

Correction Appended: July 10, 2008

Making decisions about your health is never easy, and things get even harder when the choices involve children. That's why the latest recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to widen cholesterol-testing to include kids as young as 2 is shaking up doctors and parents alike. The academy is also urging doctors to consider treating young patients from families with a history of abnormally high cholesterol levels — a major contributor to heart disease — with medications known as statins.

Taken together, these policies represent a desperate and...

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