Cholesterol Values During Puberty: Results of the STRIP Study

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September 7, 2007 By Samantha Pathe [1]

Boston, MA: Prevention of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease has long been associated with certain dietary precautions. Diets containing low amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats have been shown to reduce the risks of developing these diseases. However, there have been some concerns that a low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat diet may have a negative impact on physical and cognitive development in children. As a result, many young children are excluded from this type of diet and may therefore be at a greater risk for developing heart disease over time.

Previous studies have evaluated the effects of a low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat diet in children <7 years of age. However, studies of the same nature that continue into adolescence have not been performed. In a recent article published in Circulation, researchers assessed the effectiveness of dietary counseling on fat intake, cholesterol levels, growth, and development in children and adolescents.

Participants in the Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project (STRIP) were placed in either an intervention group or control group. Infants in the intervention group were introduced to a low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol diet before their first birthday. The parents and children of both groups received nutrition counseling sporadically over a span of 14 years. Researchers measured fat and saturated fat intake, serum cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglyceride values. In order to assess physical growth, BMI values were tracked throughout the trial.

Overall, serum cholesterol levels were lower for children in the intervention group. Intervention influenced the sexes differently. Boys had lower serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol values than girls. The authors suggest that puberty influences serum cholesterol concentrations. Serum cholesterol and HDL cholesterol concentrations were lower in the pubertal children than the pre-pubertal children. The low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat intake of the intervention group did not appear to impair physical growth as feared, with no significant difference in pubertal development between the groups.


1. Niinikoski H, Lagstrom H, Jokinen E, Siltala M, Ronnemaa T, Viikari J, Raitakari OT, Jula A, Marniemi J, Nanto-Salonen K, Simell O. Impact of Repeated Dietary Counseling Between Infancy and 14 Years of Age on Dietary Intakes and Serum Lipids and Lipoproteins. The STRIP Study. Circulation August 2007; doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.699447. PMID: 17698729 PubMed HubMed


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