According to data gathered since the firstMinnesota Heart Survey (MHS) in 1980-1982,total cholesterol levels have decreasedamong middle-aged and older Americansbut have leveled off, or in some casesincreased, in the 25-to-34 age group. TheMHS, which was conducted 5 timesbetween 1980 and 2002, included ~5000randomly selected adults at each testing.During that time, significant decreases inoverall cholesterol levels were noted in allage groups except the 25-to 34-year-olds,who instead showed more increases thantheir older counterparts. The study alsoshowed that more than half of those who participatedwho had cholesterol readings of > 200mg/dL, classified as borderline "high-risk,"werenot even aware of their condition.
Cholesterol readings for women in theyounger age group increased by 1% betweenthe studies done in 1990-1992 and 1995-1997,and again between 1995-1997 and 2000-2002. Men in the same age group experienceda different trend, with a 4% increase duringthe first time frame, followed by a 3%decrease during the second period. Oneexplanation offered for the decrease was thatmore older people are taking cholesterol-loweringdrugs—their usage doubled in the over-35 group—but it is "almost nonexistent for the25-to 34-year-olds, who do not perceive therisk of"high cholesterol levels, according toresearchers. The findings were published inthe December 13, 2005, issue of Circulation.