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Important Facts for Blood Cholesterol: Doctor-diagnosed High Cholesterol


The proportion of adults who have ever been told by a doctor, nurse, or other health professional that they have high blood cholesterol.


The number of adults who have ever been told by a doctor, nurse, or other health professional that they have high blood cholesterol.


The total number of survey respondents (BRFSS survey) excluding those with missing or refused values in the numerator.

Data Interpretation Issues

Doctor-diagnosed hypercholesterolemia is based on the answer to the question: "Have you ever been told by a doctor, nurse, or other health professional that you have high blood cholesterol?" This question is asked on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in odd-numbered years. Due to small numbers, data by Utah Small Area are based on combined years. Some of these estimates may be statistically unreliable and should be interpreted with caution. Beginning in 2011, BRFSS data include both landline and cell phone respondent data along with a new weighting methodology called iterative proportional fitting, or raking. This methodology utilizes additional demographic information (such as education, race, and marital status) in the weighting procedure. Both of these methodology changes were implemented to account for an increased number of U.S. households without landline phones and an under-representation of certain demographic groups that were not well-represented in the sample. More details about these changes can be found at: [].

Why Is This Important?

High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It is preventable. If identified early, it can be controlled with medication and lifestyle changes, such as eating a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, increasing physical activity, and reducing excess weight. Because high blood cholesterol does not produce obvious symptoms, experts recommend that all adults aged 20 years and older have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every five years to help them take action to prevent or lower their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Healthy People Objective HDS-7:

Reduce the proportion of adults with high total blood cholesterol levels
U.S. Target: 13.5 percent

How Are We Doing?

In 2021, the age-adjusted percentage of Utah adults who reported being told they had high cholesterol was 25.4% (approximately 1 in 4 adults). In 2019 doctor-diagnosed high cholesterol was different by gender (23.7% for females and 27.0% for males). High cholesterol prevalence increased with age. Among Utahns aged 65 and over, 49.1% were diagnosed with high cholesterol, compared to 7.3% of adults aged 18 to 34.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

In 2019, the age-adjusted U.S. estimate for high cholesterol was 29.2% of adults (compared to 24.4% for adults in Utah).

What Is Being Done?

HEAL aims to reduce the incidence of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke by targeting risk factors including reducing obesity, increasing physical activity and nutritious food consumption, and improving diabetes and hypertension control. The HEAL Program is working on the following things to address issues related to high blood cholesterol: *Increasing healthy nutrition and physical activity environments in K-12 schools *Increasing healthy nutrition and physical activity environments in early care and education (childcare/preschool) *Increasing healthy nutrition and physical activity environments and programs in worksites *Improving awareness of prediabetes, hypertension, and high blood cholesterol for Utahns *Improving the quality of medical care for people with diabetes, hypertension, and high blood cholesterol *Improving the linkages between health care providers and supporting community programs for Utahns with prediabetes, diabetes, hypertension, and high blood cholesterol *Improving access and availability to community health programs for Utahns with prediabetes, diabetes, hypertension, and high blood cholesterol *Improving care and management of students with chronic conditions in Utah schools

Evidence-based Practices

High cholesterol is one of the most commonly treated medical conditions. Aggressive treatment focuses on lowering LDL ("bad" cholesterol levels). Lowering LDL cholesterol reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke. A low-cholesterol diet, increased exercise, and statin medications are the first line of treatment.

Health Program Information

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Healthy Environments Active Living program plays a key role in improving the health of residents in the state of Utah. The program was formed in July 2013 (as EPICC), through a new funding opportunity from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that allowed for the merging of three previously existing programs: the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program, the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, and the Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Program, as well as the addition of a school health program. The Healthy Environments Active Living Program (HEAL) was recently restructured as part of this strategic planning process and the new program model focuses on working together with staff and partners to address the social determinants of health while advancing health equity and increasing policy, systems and environment changes. HEAL champions public health initiatives and addresses the challenges of making health awareness and access truly universal and equitable in eight key areas: nutrition, heart health, diabetes, physical activity, schools, child care, community health workers, and worksites. Visit HEAL?s website for more information.
The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Wed, 28 February 2024 23:23:53 from Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Wed, 30 Nov 2022 11:23:36 MST