THE HIGH-RISK APPROACH TO REDUCING CHOLESTEROL: THE LONDON CIVIL SERVANT STUDY

Lowering a particular population’s cholesterol level by advice on health alone can be done, if it is approached with enthusiasm. In a study of London civil servants aged forty to forty-nine years, half were given simple dietary recommendations aimed at lowering blood cholesterol. Over only four months, the average blood cholesterol level fell by 10 percent, but, more importantly, the percentage of men with a blood cholesterol over 240mg/dl changed from 53 percent to 25 percent. After eighteen months, only 23 percent of them had blood cholesterol figures above 240mg/dl.

This must have greatly reduced their potential for a premature heart attack. When the cholesterol levels were divided up into five equal blocks from the lowest to the highest, it turned out that only 7 percent of the heart attacks occurred in people in the lower two-fifths. Thirty-one percent of the heart attacks occurred in the top one-fifth for cholesterol level. This is a strong argument for lowering a high cholesterol level into the normal range by changing your lifestyle.

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