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Special Communication
December 23/30, 1998

The National Cholesterol Education ProgramProgress and Prospects

Author Affiliations

From the National Cholesterol Education Program, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1998;280(24):2099-2104. doi:10.1001/jama.280.24.2099
Abstract

The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) is a prime example of the role the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has played, in its 50 years of existence, as a catalyst for translating research advances into improved clinical and public health practices. Since its inception in 1985, the NCEP has adhered to 2 principles in mounting educational campaigns for professionals and the public: building on a strong science base and working in partnership with other organizations. In slightly more than a decade, the NCEP has made significant progress toward its goal of reducing the prevalence of high blood cholesterol. The impact of cholesterol education is clearly visible in 4 major trends: increasing professional and public cholesterol awareness; declining dietary intakes of saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol; falling serum cholesterol levels; and a continuing decline in coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality rates. Nevertheless, cholesterol levels are still being undertreated, especially in patients with CHD, and substantial scientific and educational challenges remain. As it looks forward to the 21st century, the NCEP plans to make continued progress by using emerging scientific developments and pursuing the powerful combination of cholesterol lowering in CHD patients and in primary prevention.

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