Surveys from several countries have identified the presence of risk factors known to be associated with coronary heart disease in children. Data on the distribution of coronary risk factor variables in British children are scarce. This study was therefore designed to test the feasibility of collecting coronary risk factor data from British children and to conduct a preliminary examination of the problem. One hundred and seven children (mean age 12.8 yr) had their height, weight, triceps skinfold and blood pressure checked. Blood samples for cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol analysis were obtained from 93 children. Peak VO2 was determined on 48 children, 76 children had their daily activity monitored and 59 children's stage of sexual maturity was assessed. The boys' peak VO2 was significantly higher than the girls, whether expressed in l.min-1 (p less than 0.05) or ml.kg.-1min-1 (p less than 0.01). No other significant differences (p greater than 0.05) between the sexes were detected. The results indicate that children have relatively high serum cholesterol levels (boys 4.58 +/- 0.79; girls 4.72 +/- 0.80 mmol.l-1). The willingness and enthusiasm of the children, parents and schools to take part in the study clearly demonstrated the feasibility of a large scale study being successfully pursued in the United Kingdom.
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