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US cholesterol levels continue to drop, study says

Health officials say only 13 percent of adults have high cholesterol, despite two-thirds of the adult population being overweight or obese.

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Cholesterol rates in the US decline despite worsening obesity problems. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Cholesterol levels have declined in the United States, said US health officials Wednesday.

According to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 13 percent of the US population had high cholesterol.

This is a 27 percent drop from the 18 percent of Americans who had cholesterol a decade earlier, reported WebMed.

The number is low in a country in which nearly two thirds of adults are considered to be overweight or obese.

The low cholesterol rates are believed to be due to the amount of Americans taking cholesterol-lowering drugs like Lipitor, said the Associated Press.

More than 255 million prescriptions for statins - cholesterol-lowering drugs - were filled in 2010, up from 210 million in 2006.

However, a drop in smoking and an improvement in diet may also be contributing factors, reported Fox News.

Broken down by ages and genders, all groups saw declines except for older women, whose numbers held constant.

High levels of cholesterol are linked to health risks such as heart disease.

The new data comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2009-2010.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120425/us-cholesterol-levels-continue-drop-study-says