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If screening is done, it should happen before puberty, when cholesterol levels dip before rising again, doctors explain. In children, the test does not need to involve fasting overnight and can be done from a standard blood sample or just a finger-prick test.

Other parts of the new guidelines: The government will toss out older terms _ “at risk for being overweight” and “overweight” _ and replace them with “overweight” and “obese” for kids in the 85th and 95th percentiles, Washington said. Some doctors have been reluctant to use such frank terms in children, because of the stigma.

The broader context for these guidelines is stepped-up efforts around the globe to target children and prevent problems later in life.

Last summer, the British government gave its first exercise advice for children under 5, urging some daily activity even for babies too young to walk. And the U.S. Institute of Medicine also recently gave diet and exercise advice for preschoolers.

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AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner in Chicago contributed to this report.

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Online:

Academy of Pediatrics current guidelines: http://bit.ly/eaqhzp

NHLBI panel: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cvd_ped/index.htm

Cholesterol info: http://tinyurl.com/23dtxvo

and http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/index.htm(hash)chol

Other government panel advice: http://tinyurl.com/3osn99v

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Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP