National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)

Posted on

Previously published on

In November 1985, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) – a division of the National Institute of Health – launched the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP).  The goal of the NCEP is to decrease cardiac disease by reducing the percentage of Americans with high cholesterol.

What Is The NCEP?

The National Cholesterol Education Program is an educational program targeted to both physicians and the American public.  The stated goal of the program is to “raise awareness and understanding about high blood cholesterol as a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) and the benefits of lowering cholesterol levels as a means of preventing CHD.

How Are NCEP Recommendations Made?

The NCEP is made up of an expert group of doctors and scientists affiliated with the National Institutes of Health.  They meet on a recurring basis to review the latest scientific research about hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol levels) and coronary heart disease.  They then make recommendations that are promoted by the National Institute of Health and the American Heart Association to physicians and the public at large.

Has the NCEP Been Effective at Raising Cholesterol Awareness?

Educational efforts have been extremely effective in boosting awareness and treatment of high cholesterol. According to the NCEP site, “The latest Cholesterol Awareness Survey (CAS) of physicians and the public shows that from 1983 to 1995, the percentage of the public who had ever had their blood cholesterol checked rose from 35 to 75 percent. This means that some 70 to 80 million Americans who in 1983 were unaware of their blood cholesterol level have taken action to learn where they stand.”

Where is the NCEP Information about Cholesterol?

Links to many extremely useful sites and articles about cholesterol and coronary heart disease can be found on the Patients/General Public page of the NCEP site.  For example, this page contains a link to an easy-to-use, online 10 year heart attack risk calculator, as well as links to informative brochures delivered via PDF, such as What You Need To Know About High Blood Cholesterol. The Patients/General Public page has a great deal of information but is difficult to navigate: to view one of the many useful articles listed in the ‘detailed information’ section, click on the PDF or HTML link to the right, not on the article title. 2018 Update: the Patients/General Public link has been removed. That said, you can still access the useful High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need to Know article.

Did You Know September is National Cholesterol Education Month?

The Centers for Disease Control article, September is National Cholesterol Education Month contains many useful guidelines and links to sites for more information about lowering cholesterol. September is a great time to remember to get your cholesterol checked.


Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, and cholesterol is clearly linked with heart disease. The NCEP strives to education physicians and the general public about cholesterol in order to lower cardiac disease illness and death in the United States.

Did You Know?

According to the CDC, “The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that adults aged 20 years or older have their cholesterol checked every 5 years.” You may need to have your cholesterol checked more often if your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or higher, you are a man older than age 45 or a woman older than age 50, your HDL cholesterol is lower than 40 mg/dL, and/or you have other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *