Recent Blog Articles

Heart Beat: Kudos on cholesterol?

Updated: May 01, 2008

Heart Beat

Kudos on cholesterol?

Congratulations (kind of), America! For the first time since records have been kept on this subject, the total cholesterol of the average American dropped below 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). The average in 1960 was 222 mg/dL; today it is 199. That's just into the "desirable" range. Before having a hamburger to celebrate, keep in mind that this trend doesn't necessarily mean Americans are healthier than they were in the 1950s. It's more a testament to the power of cholesterol-lowering statins and the fact that millions of adults are taking these drugs.

The report detailing this trend, put together by the National Center for Health Statistics, shows an alarming pattern seen in other surveys: more than 20% of women over age 60 have high total cholesterol (above 240 mg/dL), compared with 10% of men in that age range.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.