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November 28, 1986

Taking On the Fat of the Land: Cholesterol and Health

JAMA. 1986;256(20):2873-2874. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380200111033

As studies continue to document the substantial health benefits of lowering serum cholesterol levels,1 medical and public health organizations are advocating an aggressive role for physicians in treating patients with hypercholesterolemia and preventing it in the population at large.2 Still, even with the strong pathological and epidemiologic evidence of the crucial role of hypercholesterolemia in atherogenesis, only about 30% of physicians believe its control is as important as the control of hypertension or smoking.3 New national survey data (Basil Rifkind, MD, unpublished data, October 1986) suggest that both physicians and patients underestimate the health risk that hypercholesterolemia poses.

This issue of The Journal attempts to assist physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of hypercholesterolemia by presenting authoritative data on its many clinical dimensions.

Because the National Institutes of Health have taken a leading role in funding key clinical and basic scientific research in hypercholesterolemia, it is appropriate