THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Screening for high blood cholesterol among U.S. adults increased significantly from 2005 to 2009, but younger Americans, less-educated adults and Hispanics are still less likely than others to undergo testing, according to a new study.
Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that in 2009 only nine states achieved the CDC's "Healthy People 2010" target, which called for blood cholesterol screening by 80 percent of the population in the preceding five years.
High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for the development of hardening of the arteries and coronary heart disease. This risk can be reduced by a blood test to screen for high blood cholesterol and treatment to lower it.
"Clearly, we have more work to do, with greater outreach and education, to make all Americans understand the importance of knowing their cholesterol numbers," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
The study findings can help state and national health officials direct screening toward at-risk groups, the researchers said.
In this study, CDC researchers analyzed national data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in order to assess recent trends in cholesterol screening and awareness of high cholesterol among adults 18 and older.
The overall percentage of adults who said they had been screened for high blood cholesterol during the previous five years increased from 72.7 percent in 2005 to 76 percent in 2009.
Further investigation revealed that the percentage of people screened for high blood cholesterol in 2009 was much higher in some groups than in others: people ages 45 to 64 (88.8 percent) and those 65 and older (94.7 percent) compared with adults ages 18 to 44 (63.2 percent); women (77.6 percent) compared with men (74.5 percent); blacks (77.6 percent), whites (77.3 perc
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