NCHS Data Brief No. 276, March 2017
The prevalence of low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was significantly higher among adults who did not meet recommended physical activity guidelines (21.0%) than adults who met the guidelines (17.7%).
- Low HDL cholesterol prevalence differed significantly for both men and women by adherence to physical activity guidelines.
- Prevalence of low HDL cholesterol declined as age increased for both those who did and did not meet the physical activity guidelines.
- Non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black adults who did not meet the physical activity guidelines had a higher prevalence than those who met the guidelines.
- Low HDL cholesterol prevalence declined with increasing education level regardless of adherence to physical activity guidelines.
Regular physical activity can improve cholesterol levels among adults, including increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (1). HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol because high levels can reduce cardiovascular disease risk (2). The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults engage in 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, or an equivalent combination (3). Adherence to these guidelines is expected to decrease the prevalence of low HDL cholesterol levels (4–8). This report presents national data for 2011–2014 on low HDL cholesterol prevalence among U.S. adults aged 20 and over, by whether they met these guidelines.
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