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
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