Americans don't often get good news collectively when it comes to health, so enjoy: The nation's cholesterol levels show genuine long-range improvement. Federal researchers say that over the last two decades:
- Total cholesterol levels dropped 10 points (206 to 196 mg/dL)
- Bad cholesterol levels (LDL) dropped from 129 to 116
- Good cholesterol levels (HDL) rose from 50.7 to 52.5
“These findings are important because individuals with high levels of total or ‘bad’ cholesterol have a greater chance of developing heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in the United States,” the lead CDC author tells ABC News. What's striking is that the decline holds true even for people not taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, which means that a reduction in trans fats, a drop in smoking rates, and generally healthier lifestyles are likely playing a role, reports medpagetoday.com.