Brits Unaware of Prevalence of High Cholesterol in the UK

By Benecol, PRNE
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

LONDON, November 2, 2011 -

Eight out of ten (80%) adults in the UK are unaware of the prevalence of high cholesterol, with just 8% recognising that it affects 2 in 3 adults,[1] a new survey has revealed.[2]

While the likelihood of having high cholesterol increases with age,[3] the survey of 2,000 adults in the UK showed over a third (35%) of those between the ages of 45-54 years have never had their cholesterol tested.[2]

Just a quarter of adults are aware that 4.1mmol/L to 5mmol/L total cholesterol is healthy for an adult according the Benecol® Cholesterol Awareness Survey,[2]though this rises to 33% amongst adults over 55 years.

Almost one third of people (32%) surveyed did not realise that cholesterol-lowering foods can further benefit their cholesterol levels, even if they are already taking medication such as statins.[2]

Helen Bond, Consultant Dietitian said High cholesterol is very common in the UK, so driving awareness of the risks and how to lower cholesterol is important. Its wise to get checked as high cholesterol increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) which is the biggest killer in the UK.

Simple steps can be taken to help lower cholesterol, such as reducing saturated fat intake and consuming foods enriched with plant stanols or sterols that are proven to lower cholesterol as part of a healthy diet. Interestingly the study revealed that 79% of adults would eat more healthily if they had been diagnosed with high cholesterol while 53% would exercise more.[2]

Although there is a real need to make the UK public more cholesterol aware, the study showed that most people understand the risk factors associated with high cholesterol:

  • The study showed that a heart attack was the most commonly associated risk factor, with 80% of people identifying it as a potential danger caused by high cholesterol.[2]
  • 74% of those polled associated coronary heart disease as a risk factor.[2]
  • 60% associated stroke as a risk factor associated with high cholesterol levels.[2]

A quarter of those polled thought wrongly that high cholesterol affects just 25% of people. A further quarter of those polled estimated incorrectly that high cholesterol affects a third of the population.[2]

81% of respondents said they would seek advice from their GP about lowering cholesterol in the first instance.[2]

McNeil Nutritionals, makers of Benecol® have launched a variety of new food products. Providing more choice than ever before when it comes to great tasting cholesterol-lowering foods, Benecol® has introduced new yogurts (Fruit Medley and Summer Fruits variety packs) as well as a new one-a-day Benecol® Blueberry Yogurt Drink.

Percentage of UK adults who have never had their cholesterol checked:[2]

  • All adults = 43%
  • 45-54 years = 35%
  • 55-64 years = 19%
  • 65+ years = 12%

  1. Department of Health, 2004. Health Survey for England 2003.  The Stationery Office: London. Available at [Accessed October 2011].
  2. ICM Market Research, 2011. For McNeil Nutritionals Ltd. Data on file.
  3. British Heart Foundation. Available at: [Accessed October 2011].  

For more information please contact Paul Hutchings or Claire Pay Call: +44(0)208-392-8040, Email: benecol at

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