More Work Still Needed Despite Improvements in Cholesterol Levels

(HealthDay News) — About 1 in every 8 American adults continue to have high levels of total cholesterol, while even more have low levels of HDL cholesterol, according to a data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Using data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the investigators reported declines from 2007 to 2014 in the percentage of adults with high total cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol. However, 12.1% of Americans still had high total cholesterol and 18.5% still had low levels of HDL cholesterol during 2011 to 2014.

The team also found that fewer black men had high levels of total cholesterol than white, Asian, or Hispanic men. Among women, fewer black women had high total cholesterol than white and Hispanic women. 

Black men and women and Asian men and women had higher levels of HDL cholesterol than Hispanic men and women. In addition, black men and women had higher levels of HDL cholesterol than white men and women, and Asian women had higher levels than white women.

“One of the Healthy People 2020 goals regarding total cholesterol is to reduce the percentage of adults with high total blood cholesterol levels to 13.5%,” the researchers wrote. “For 2011 to 2014, approximately 12% of adults aged 20 and over had high total cholesterol, thus meeting this goal. Adults aged 20 to 39 and 60 and older also achieved this goal, but adults aged 40 to 59 (16.0%) did not.”


  1. Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Kit BK. NCHS Data Brief: Total and High-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Adults: United States, 2011–2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Updated December 1, 2015. Accessed December 1, 2015.