Despite recent news reports linking high cholesterol levels to different life-threatening diseases, the message has apparently been lost on many consumers. At least, that’s the finding of a new study on contemporary awareness of cholesterol as a risk factor, which appeared in the July 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study, conducted on behalf of the American Heart Association, polled 1,163 American adults 40 years and older through a series of telephone interviews.
Although more than 91 percent of those polled said that maintaining a healthy cholesterol level was important, fewer than half knew their personal lipid levels. Only 40.2 percent were aware that there are national guidelines on cholesterol management.

“Public understanding of cholesterol management is suboptimal,” concluded the study authors. “Physicians have an opportunity, on the basis of public attitudes and access, to improve cholesterol education.”

Fitness professionals can help in these practical ways:

  • by partnering with allied health professionals to answer questions posed by your clients
  • by hosting cholesterol management seminars conducted by experts in your club
  • by familiarizing yourself and your clients with reputable Web sites and other sources for current guidelines on cholesterol management, such as those published by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel (NCEP-ATP) (