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Keywords:

  • adolescent;
  • child;
  • dyslipidaemia;
  • epidemiology;
  • lipid

Aim:  To report the current lipid status of Australian school children from a population-based sample and compare this to international and Australian data.

Methods:  A cross section of school children aged 6 to 16.9 years in Busselton, Western Australia (WA) between 2005 and 2007 had fasting lipids tested. The first analysis compares the Busselton sample to data recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) 2008. The second analysis compares the Busselton sample to data from the Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS) study, New South Wales (NSW), Australia, 2004 and the 1985 Australian Health and Fitness Survey (AHFS). The third analysis applies laboratory-reported cut-points in WA to report percentages over ‘healthy desirable norms’.

Results:  Analysis 1: higher levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides in Busselton children compared to AAP data source. Boys had higher low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. Analysis 2: comparable rates of dyslipidaemia to SPANS 2004 but lower rates compared to the AHFS, 1985. Analysis 3: total and LDL-cholesterol above recommended range in 32.7% and 19.4% of boys and 38.2% and 24.6% of girls.

Conclusion:  In a large population-based sample of Australian school children, we found a higher frequency of abnormal lipid profiles when compared to American data. In addition, many children have levels outside reported healthy norms for Australian children. Research tracking lipid profiles of Australian children into adulthood is needed to understand the association of these levels with future cardiovascular risk.