Published by
Stanford Medicine

Mental Health, Parenting, Pediatrics, Public Health

Doctors advised to screen for depression and test cholesterol during well-child visits

Doctors advised to screen for depression and test cholesterol during well-child visits

Child_depressionHow old should children be before their doctors start annual depression screenings? According to revised guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the suggested age is 11. The national physician group also suggests pediatricians check middle school-age children’s cholesterol levels, test 16 to 18-year-olds for HIV, and not perform pap smears in girls younger than 21.

As reported in a Health Day story:

The changes attempt to address several pressing health issues affecting U.S. families today. The nation’s obesity epidemic means that children are developing high cholesterol levels — a risk factor for heart disease — at earlier ages. And depression is linked to higher risk for teen suicides and murder.

“One in five kids will, at some point in time, meet the criteria for depression,” said [Joseph Hagan, MD, co-editor of the guidelines and] a professor in pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

The article continues with explanations for specific changes. A full version of the updated guidelines was published yesterday in the journal Pediatrics.

Previously: Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital partners with high schools on student mental health programs and The link between teen depression and suicide
Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

One Response to “ Doctors advised to screen for depression and test cholesterol during well-child visits ”

  1. Clinton Says:

    I’m happy to hear that they are following USPSTF recommendations in regards to HIV testing, depression screening and pap smears.

    However, I’m puzzled why they are diverging from the USPSTF on the issue of cholesterol.
    http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspschlip.htm
    “USPSTF concludes that the evidence is INSUFFICIENT to recommend for or against routine screening for lipid disorders in infants, children, adolescents, or young adults (up to age 20 years).
    Grade: I Statement.”

    Is there new evidence since 2007 which suggests that the diagnosis of high cholesterol in childhood (rather than at age 35-45 for men and women) changes outcomes? Or are we just looking to label obese children with additional diagnoses, while continuing to provide the same type of guidance for nutrition, exercise and specialty guidance (nutritionist, PT, exercise, specialty center) — the same management we do with obesity?

Comment


Please read our comments policy before posting

Stanford Medicine Resources: