COMMENTS: Pediatricians to Test Blood of Toddlers

There must have been high fives all around at the public relations office of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The academy's recommendation that preteen children with high risk factors for heart disease have their cholesterol levels tested was the unanimous choice for Story of the Day. It was selected as lead item on all three newscasts, each of which called in its network's in-house physician for a consultation. Courtesy of single sponsor Caduet, by coincidence a heart disease medication, ABC enlarged its newshole (24 min v CBS 19, NBC 20), allowing it to introduce its four-part Small World series.

NBC's in-house sawbones Nancy Snyderman was assigned to file a report on the pediatricians' worries. They urge cholesterol screening for overweight children and toddlers, plus those with a family history of heart trouble. If diet and exercise do not do the job, the academy advised a lifetime dosage of statin prescriptions starting while children are still in grade school. On the other two newscasts, Dr Timothy Johnson assessed the wisdom of the advice after ABC's John McKenzie (embargoed link) did the reporting; Dr Jon LaPook followed CBS' Nancy Cordes.


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