Blood lipids among young children in Europe: Results from the European IDEFICS study

IDEFICS Consortium

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BACKGROUND: Measurement of cholesterol and triglyceride (TG) fractions in blood has become standard practice in the early detection of atherosclerotic disease pathways. Considerable attention is given nowadays to the presence of these risk factors in children and to start preventive campaigns early in life. In this context, it is imperative to have valid comparative frameworks for interpretation of lipid levels. The aim of this study is to present sex- and age-specific reference values on blood lipid levels in European children aged 2.0-10.9 years. METHODS: Fasting blood was obtained via either venipuncture or capillary sampling. In 13 579 European non-obese children (50.3% boys), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), total cholesterol (TC), TG and TC/HDL-C ratio levels were measured with a point-of-care analyser (Cholestech). Sex- and age-specific reference values were computed with the GAMLSS method with the statistical software R. RESULTS: Reference curves and 1st, 3rd, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th, 97th and 99th percentile values are presented. HDL-C showed a positive trend with age, from 2 years onwards, but was relatively stable above the age of 7. For LDL-C and TC, linear but small age-related trends were seen. The TC/HDL-C values showed a gradual negative trend from the age of 2 up to 6 and were relatively stable afterwards. For TG, no age trend was found (P = 0.285). Boys had higher mean HDL-C values than girls (1.414 vs 1.368 mmol l-1), and lower TC, LDL-C, TC/HDL-C and TG values (3.981 vs 4.087 mmol l-1; 2.297 vs 2.435 mmol l-1; 2.84 vs 3.01 mmol l-1; and 0.509 vs 0.542 mmol l-1, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: These new and recent references could serve as a European orientation of blood lipid values in children in the context of standard medical practice and for the purpose of public health screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S67-S75
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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