LDL cholesterol level in fifth-grade schoolchildren associates with stature

Document Type


Publication Date



Short stature is associated with increased LDL-cholesterol levels and coronary artery disease in adults. We investigated the relationship of stature to LDL levels in children in the West Virginia Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian Communities (CARDIAC) Project to determine whether the genetically determined inverse relationship observed in adults would be evident in fifth graders. A cross-sectional survey of schoolchildren was assessed for cardiovascular risk factors. Data collected at school screenings over 18 years in WV schools were analyzed for 63,152 fifth-graders to determine relationship of LDL to stature with consideration of age, gender, and BMI. The first (shortest) quartile showed an LDL level of 93.6 mg/dl compared with an LDL level of 89.7 mg/dl for the fourth (tallest) quartile. Each incremental increase of 1 SD of height lowered LDL by 0.049 mg/dl (P < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis showed LDL to vary inversely as a function of the first (lowest) quartile of height after controlling for gender, median age, BMI percentile for age and gender, and year of screening. The odds ratio for LDL ≥ 130 mg/dl for shortest versus tallest quartile is 1.266 (95% CL 1.162–1.380). The odds ratio for LDL ≥ 160 mg/dl is 1.456 (95% CL 1.163–1.822). The relationship between short stature and LDL, noted in adults, is confirmed in childhood.