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Am Fam Physician. 2006;73(7):1284

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a report on the prevalence of cholesterol screening and awareness using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The findings were published in the September 9, 2005, issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and are available online at

Between 1991 and 2003, the prevalence of cholesterol screening in the preceding five years and the percentage of patients who were told that they had high blood cholesterol levels (i.e., 240 mg per dL [6.2 mmol per L] or greater) increased among all age, sex, racial, and ethnic groups. In 1991, 25.3 percent of persons who had cholesterol screenings within the preceding five years were told that they had high blood cholesterol levels (95% confidence interval [CI], 24.7 to 25.8). In 2003, that percentage had increased to 31.1 percent (95% CI, 30.7 to 31.5). Reporting of high blood cholesterol levels increased among all age groups, with the largest percentage change among persons 65 years or older.

In 2003, the prevalence of cholesterol screenings was found to be lowest among Hispanics (65.5 percent; 95% CI, 64.1 to 67.0) and Asians/Pacific islanders (69.6 percent; 95% CI, 66.9 to 72.4). The largest percentage changes were among American Indians/Alaskan Natives and non-Hispanic blacks. Overall, the greatest increase occurred in Hispanics. The data also show that, overall, women were more likely than men to have a cholesterol screening within the preceding five years.

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