Prevalence of high total cholesterol declined from 1999 to 2016, whereas prevalence of low HDL declined from 2007 to 2016, according to a data brief released by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
“As part of its objectives to improve the health of the U.S. population, Healthy People 2020 has included the goal of reducing the proportion of adults with high total blood cholesterol to less than 13.5%,” Margaret D. Carroll, MSPH, from the National Center for Health Statistics’ division of health and nutrition examination surveys, and colleagues wrote. “Both men and women aged 20 and over currently meet this goal. However, disparities among some population subgroups still exist.”
Data were taken from nine National Health and Examination Survey 2-year cycles.
High total cholesterol
In 2015-2016, 12.4% of U.S. adults had high total cholesterol, defined as at least 240 mg/dL. The prevalence was 17.1% in adults aged 40 to 59 years, 12.5% in adults aged at least 60 years and 7.9% in those aged 20 to 39 years, Carroll and colleagues wrote.
In men, prevalence was highest in those aged 40 to 59 years (16.5% vs. 6.9% for those aged at least 60 years), but for women, it was similar in those aged 40 to 59 years (17.7%) and in those aged at least 60 years (17.2%).
Among men, there were no statistically significant differences in total cholesterol prevalence by race or ethnicity. However, among women, high total cholesterol was more prevalent in non-Hispanic white adults (14.8%) than in Hispanic adults (9%), according to the researchers.
Hispanic men (13.1%) had a higher prevalence of elevated total cholesterol than Hispanic women (9%), they wrote.
The prevalence of low HDL, defined as less than 40 mg/dL, among all adults was 18.4%, including 19.2% in those aged 20 to 39 years, 20.1% in those aged 40 to 59 years and 14.5% in those aged at least 60 years, Carroll and colleagues wrote.
In men, prevalence of low HDL was higher in those aged 40 to 59 years than in those aged at least 60 years (31.9% vs. 23.3%). In women, prevalence declined from 10.1% in those aged 20 to 39 years to 8.7% in those aged 40 to 59 years to 7.1% in those aged at least 60 years; all figures were significantly lower than in men of the same age group.
Prevalence of low HDL was greater in Hispanic adults (24.7%) than in non-Hispanic black adults (12.2%), non-Hispanic white adults (17.6%) or non-Hispanic Asian adults (16.4%), with similar patterns seen in men and women, according to the researchers.
The 12.4% prevalence of high total cholesterol in 2015-2016 was significantly lower than the 18.3% observed in 1999-2000, but there was no significant change between 2013-2014 and 2015-2016, Carroll and colleagues wrote.
Low HDL prevalence declined significantly from 22.2% in 2007-2008 to 18.4% 2015-2016, but did not change significantly between 2013-2014 and 2015-2016, they wrote. – by Erik Swain
The authors are employees of the National Center for Health Statistics.