Low Cholesterol in Kids with Aggressive Behavior

Published Online: Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Researchers have suggested a link between low cholesterol levels and aggressive behavior in children and teens. Using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Dr. Jian Zhang and colleagues from the University of South Carolina explored the link between cholesterol levels and the psychosocial development of noninstitutionalized children and adolescents. They gathered cholesterol data from 4852 children between the ages of 6 and 16 as well as interviews with the mothers regarding their children's behavioral history.

Among children with various cholesterol levels, there were no differences in the percentages of those who had seen a mental health practitioner. Among non-African American children whose cholesterol level was <145 mg/dL, however, the likelihood that they had been suspended or expelled from school was 3 times higher than among those with cholesterol above that level.

Dr. Zhang suggests that the reason may be "reverse causation": because the school suspension causes stress and "serious negative psychiatric consequences," the resulting posttraumatic stress disorder may lead to a decrease in cholesterol concentration. The researchers concluded that their results suggest the need for further study.

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