Blood cholesterol is one of the most important risk factors for ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and ischaemic stroke. Consistent and comparable information on cholesterol levels and trends in different countries can help to benchmark national performance in addressing non-optimal cholesterol, investigate the reasons behind differential trends and identify countries in which interventions are needed the most. The analysis of lipid fractions —including high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol— is key to understanding the cardiovascular disease risk associated with non-optimal cholesterol.

In 2018, age-standardized mean total cholesterol across countries of the Americas ranged from a low of 4.2 mmol/L (95% UI, 3.8 to 4.7) in Barbados to a high of 4.8 mmol/L (95% UI, 4.4 to 5.2) in Uruguay for men. For women, it ranged from a low of 4.5 mmol/L (95% UI, 3.9 to 5.0) in Barbados to a high of 5.0 mmol/L (96% UI, 4.6 to 5.4) in Guyana. 

This data visualization presents the level and trends of the mean total cholesterol, mean HDL cholesterol, mean non-HDL cholesterol (age-standardized), and the total-to-HDL cholesterol by sex and year in countries of the Americas.



In the map and horizontal bar chart, data are presented in five discrete classes created using the quantile classification method. Each class contains 20% of countries, which is easy to interpret. The quintile classes are labeled sequentially from Q1 as the first quintile including the lowest fifth (1% to 20%) of the data to Q5, the fifth quintile representing the class with the highest fifth (81% to 100%) of the data.



NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). Cholesterol - evolution of cholesterol over time. Data download. (accessed August 10, 2020)



NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). Repositioning of the global epicentre of non-optimal cholesterol. Nature 2020, 582:73–77.

NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). National trends in total cholesterol obscure heterogeneous changes in HDL and non-HDL cholesterol and total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio: a pooled analysis of 458 population-based studies in Asian and Western countries. International Journal of Epidemiology 2020, 49:173-192



Blue icon buttons:  You can use the top-centered blue icon buttons to navigate through different visual forms of the visualization by clicking on the corresponding icon.

Dropdowns and slide filters: You can use filters located beneath the title of the visualization to show specific data.