Low cholesterol and mental illness and crime in children

In the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) conducted in the USA between 1988 and 1994, blood cholesterol levels were measured in 4,852 children aged 6-16 years.[1]

Psychosocial development was evaluated by interviewing the mother regarding her child's history of school suspension or expulsion and difficulty in getting along with others.

What the survey showed was that children whose cholesterol concentration was below 145 mg/dL (3.77 mmol/L) were almost three times more likely to have been suspended or expelled from schools than their peers with higher cholesterol levels.

The authors concluded that low total cholesterol may be a risk factor for aggression or a risk marker for other biologic variables that predispose to aggression.


1. Zhang J, et al. Association of Serum Cholesterol and History of School Suspension among School-age Children and Adolescents in the United States. Am J Epidemiol 2005; 161:691-699.

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Last updated: December 9, 2011