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National Cholesterol Education Month --- September 2001

High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Lowering cholesterol levels reduces the incidence of heart disease and death among persons with or without coronary heart disease. To increase awareness of the importance of monitoring cholesterol levels and taking steps to achieve or maintain healthy levels, the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) sponsors National Cholesterol Education Month every September. This year, the theme is "Know your cholesterol numbers; know your risk."

In May 2001, NCEP released the Third Report of the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults, Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III), which recommends that adults aged >20 years have their cholesterol checked at least once every 5 years. Cholesterol levels can be lowered through lifestyle changes such as dietary improvement, increased physical activity, weight control, drug therapy, or a combination of these (1).

During September, CDC-funded state cardiovascular health programs and their collaborators will conduct programs aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of high blood cholesterol and its impact on heart disease. For example, the Montana state health department and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana have developed and broadcast radio public service announcements providing cholesterol education. The Arkansas state health department will provide cholesterol educational information sheets to the public and health-care professionals.

Additional information about how cholesterol may affect health and about the new ATP III guidelines is available at <>*, <>, and <>.


  1. National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults. Executive summary of the third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (ATP III). JAMA 2001;285:2486--97.

* Reference to non-CDC sites on the Internet are provided as a service to MMWR readers and do not constitute or imply endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is not responsible for the content of pages found at these sites.

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This page last reviewed 9/7/2001