No Association between Cognitive Achievements, Academic Performance and Serum Cholesterol Concentrations among School-Aged Children

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Nutritional Neuroscience




The uncertainty of the role of serum cholesterol in neurodevelopment of children has largely hampered the implementation of the fat recommendation to children in the general population. We explored whether serum cholesterol concentrations are associated with cognitive achievements, academic performance in school-aged children and adolescents at the population level. In the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey, blood specimens were collected from 4248 6–16-year-old children and adolescents to assess three serum cholesterol measures, e.g. total serum cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and non-high density lipoprotein cholesterol. Cognitive achievements and academic performance were measured on standard tests of arithmetic skills, reading skills, non-verbal reasoning and short-term memory. No significant difference in measures of cognitive and academic performance was observed between children and adolescents stratified by the levels of serum total, HDL, and non-HDL cholesterol. Our results suggest that differences within the normal range of serum lipids at a population level are not associated with intelligence and cognition developmental outcomes of children and adolescents.