(HealthDay News) – Since 1988, levels of cholesterol and related lipids have been moving in a favorable direction among adults in the United States, even among the obese and those not taking lipid-lowering drugs, according to a study published in the Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Margaret D. Carroll, M.S.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1988 to 1994 (16,573 adults), 1999 to 2002 (9,471 adults), and 2007 to 2010 (11,766 adults) on serum lipid trends in the United States.

The researchers found that mean total cholesterol, mean low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and mean non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol all significantly declined through 2010, while mean high-density lipoprotein cholesterol significantly increased through 2010. Mean serum triglyceride levels increased from 1988–1994 to 1999–2002, then decreased through 2010. The prevalence in the use of lipid-lowering medications increased significantly, from 3.4 percent in 1988–1994 to 15.5 percent in 2007–2010. Lipid trends were similar in the obese and among those not taking lipid-lowering medications.

“Between 1988 and 2010, favorable trends in lipid levels have occurred among adults in the United States,” Carroll and colleagues conclude.

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