Population frequency distribution of non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey [NHANES III], 1988-1994)

Am J Cardiol. 2000 Aug 1;86(3):299-304. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(00)00918-8.


The objective of this study was to provide population frequency distribution data for non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol) concentrations and to evaluate whether differences exist by gender, ethnicity, or level of education. Serum levels of non-HDL cholesterol and sociodemographic characteristics were determined for 3,618 black, 3,528 Mexican-American, and 6,043 white women and men, aged >/=25 years, from a national cross-sectional survey of the US population (National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey III, 1988-1994). Age-adjusted non-HDL cholesterol concentrations were lower in women than men (154.1 vs 160.4 mg/dL, p <0.001). In women and men, age was positively associated with non-HDL cholesterol in the 25 to 64-year age range, and the slope of the association was steeper for women. For women and men >/=65 years, age was negatively associated with non-HDL cholesterol, and the slope of the association was steeper for men. Black women and men had lower non-HDL cholesterol levels than either Mexican-American or white women and men (women, p <0.02; men, p <0.001, for both ethnic contrasts). Women with less education had higher levels of non-HDL cholesterol than women with more education (p <0.01). These nationally representative population frequency distribution data provide non-HDL cholesterol reference levels for clinicians and investigators and indicate that there are significant variations in non-HDL cholesterol by gender, age, ethnicity, and level of education.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood
  • Hypercholesterolemia / epidemiology*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / ethnology
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol