CDC: Cholesterol levels continue to drop

April 24, 2012 By MIKE STOBBE , AP Medical Writer

(AP) -- U.S. health officials say only 13 percent of U.S. adults have high total cholesterol. That may seem incredible in a nation where two-thirds of adults are overweight.

Experts believe it's largely because so many Americans take cholesterol-lowering drugs, but dropping smoking rates and other factors also contributed.

The released the report Tuesday. The numbers come from interviews and blood tests of nearly than 6,000 U.S. adults in 2009 and 2010.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in the blood. Too much total cholesterol is a risk for heart disease. The government set a goal that no more than 17 percent of adults have high total cholesterol. The goal was achieved about five years ago for women and more than ten years ago for men.

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