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Circulation. 2003 May 6;107(17):2185-9. Epub 2003 Apr 28.

Serum total cholesterol concentrations and awareness, treatment, and control of hypercholesterolemia among US adults: findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999 to 2000.

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Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, MS K66, Atlanta, Ga 30341, USA.

Erratum in

  • Circulation. 2004 Jun 29;109(25):3257.



Serum cholesterol concentrations have decreased in the US population. Whether the decline continued during the 1990s is unknown.


We used data from 4148 men and women aged > or =20 years who had a total cholesterol determination or reported using cholesterol-lowering medications and who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2000 (this is a cross-sectional health examination survey of the US population), and we compared the results with data from 15 719 participants in NHANES III (1988 to 1994). For all adults, the age-adjusted mean total cholesterol concentration decreased from 5.31 mmol/L (205 mg/dL) in NHANES III to 5.27 mmol/L (203 mg/dL) in NHANES 1999 to 2000 (P=0.159). The age-adjusted mean total cholesterol concentration decreased by 0.02 mmol/L (0.7 mg/dL) among men (P=0.605) and 0.06 mmol/L (2.3 mg/dL) among women (P=0.130). Significant decreases were observed among men aged > or =75 years, black men, and Mexican-American women. Among participants who had a total cholesterol concentration > or =5.2 mmol/L (200 mg/dL) or who reported using cholesterol-lowering medications, 69.5% reported having had their cholesterol checked, 35.0% were aware that they had hypercholesterolemia, 12.0% were on treatment, and 5.4% had a total cholesterol concentration <5.2 mmol/L (200 mg/dL) after age adjustment.


The mean serum total cholesterol concentration of the adult US population in 1999 to 2000 has changed little since 1988 to 1994. The low percentage of adults with controlled blood cholesterol concentration suggests the need for a renewed commitment to the prevention, treatment, and control of hypercholesterolemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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