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Atherosclerosis. 1998 Jul;139(1):1-9.

Worldwide distribution of blood lipids and lipoproteins in childhood and adolescence: a review study.

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Cardiology Department, Hospital General Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain.


Review and pooled analysis of the relevant worldwide literature was investigated from 1975 to 1996. Eighteen surveys out of 54 were suitable for analysis according to the selection criteria. This represents a total of 60494 observations from 26 countries all over the world. Data suggests differences as great as 76 mg/dl when comparing northern European countries to black African children. The overall curve of cholesterol with age observed in the pooled population indicates a pre-adolescent peak and then a slightly inverse change is observed for both boys and girls, from 3 to 12 years old being almost coincident absolute values. Beyond age 12, values for boys continue to slightly decrease to age 16, while for girls values tend to increase through this age-range. The curve in the late teens (16-18 years) tends to reach pre-teen levels for both sexes, although girls have consistently higher absolute values than boys. There is a great variation in the specific age-sex and race levels of cholesterol among different populations or even in the same populations over a period of time. However, an apparently universal pattern of an early rise, a fall, and a subsequent rise in mean values of total cholesterol by age from the preadolescence to late teens is observed. More data are needed on total cholesterol and lipid fractions between late school age and mid-adulthood.

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