Prevalence of high cholesterol is declining among U.S. adults, according to the latest figures from the CDC. Photo by Steve Buissinne/Pixabay
April 22 (UPI) -- New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Wednesday suggests that the number of Americans with high cholesterol may be declining.
The prevalence of elevated total cholesterol levels among adults across the country dropped from 18.3 percent in 1999 to 11.4 percent in 2018 -- a reduction of more than 30 percent -- the agency reported in an analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Additionally, the percentage of adults with low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol -- or "good cholesterol" -- fell from 22.2 percent in 2008 to 17.2 percent in 2018, the agency noted.
Adults with high total cholesterol are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke, among other health problems. As part of its Healthy People 2020 initiative, the CDC set a goal of reducing the prevalence of high cholesterol in the United States to less than 13.5 percent, and it appears that is being achieved.
Although people can be genetically predisposed to elevated cholesterol, they can modify risk for the condition through diet, by limiting consumption of high-fat foods, red meat and alcohol, and through regular exercise, among other efforts. Conversely, higher amounts of so-called "good cholesterol" can help reduce "bad" cholesterol -- or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol -- levels and improve overall health.
The latest figures from the CDC indicate that the prevalence of high total cholesterol is basically the same among men, at 10.5 percent, and women, at 12.1 percent. However, prevalence was highest among adults between 40 and 59 years of age, at nearly 16 percent.
Prevalence of high total cholesterol among Asian-Americans and white Americans in 2018 was 11.6 percent and 11.7 percent, respectively, and it was slightly lower among black Americans, at 10 percent, and Hispanic Americans, at 10.9 percent, the agency reported.