Cholesterol levels have dropped among US adults says the CDC in a new report.
Researchers found that cholesterol levels have dropped an average of 10 points, even when controlled for age, gender, race and obesity.
The study was based on a survey of 35,000 men and women over two decades.
Researchers found that average total cholesterol went to 196 mg/dL from 206 mg/dL, said the New York Times.
“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,” said study author Margaret Carroll, according to ABC News.
Yet, while bad cholesterol seemed to decrease, good cholesterol increased only slightly.
The most likely explanation for the drop was the increased use of statins, cholesterol lowering drugs.
In the last 10 years their use has quadrupled, said the New York Times, with an estimated 35 percent of people over 50 taking them.
The authors said that statins were not, however, the whole explanation with diet and lifestyle changes other possibilities.
Decreasing cholesterol levels have likely helped to reduce deaths from heart disease by 31 percent from 1998 to 2008.
"Reductions in cholesterol have contributed substantially to the decline in heart disease," said Donna Arnett, president of the American Heart Association, reported USA Today.
GlobalPost has already reported that the CDC announced this summer that cholesterol rates in children was also shrinking.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.