High cholesterol statistics

In 2010, high total cholesterol was the second greatest attributor to the total burden of heart disease, accounting for more than a third (36.3%) of the total burden. (1)

In 2011/12, 5.6 million people aged 18 and older had high total cholesterol. Overall, 33 per cent of Australians had high total cholesterol. (2)

High cholesterol by gender

More than 2.7 million Australian men had high total cholesterol in 2011/12, or approximately 32 per cent of all males aged 18 and over. (2)

Close to 2.9 million Australian women had high total cholesterol in 2011/12, or approximately 33 per cent of all females aged 18 and over. (2)

% High cholesterol by gender (2)
Gender %
Male 32.4%
Female 33.2%
Total 32.8%

High cholesterol by age

The prevalence of high cholesterol was highest amongst the 55 to 64 year age group, with almost one in two having high total cholesterol.

Close to one in five Australians aged 18 to 34 had high total cholesterol, representing more than one million.

% High cholesterol by age (2)
Age group %
12–17 3.5%
18–24 10.1%
25–34 24.8%
35-44 33.7%
45–54 44.7%
55–64 47.8%
65–74 37.2%
75+ 25.5%

High cholesterol by location

The prevalence of high total cholesterol was highest in Tasmania and South Australia, with Northern Territory having the lowest prevalence rate.

Australians residing in regional and remote areas were more likely to have high total cholesterol than those living in major cities.

% High cholesterol by state/territory (2)
State/territory %
Tasmania 39.4%
South Australia 35.0%
Western Australia 34.7%
Victoria 33.2%
New South Wales 32.3%
Australian Capital Territory 31.6%
Queensland 30.8%
Northern Territory 29.8%
% High cholesterol by remoteness (2)
  %
Major cities 31.0%
Inner regional 38.1%
Outer regional and remote 36.7%

High cholesterol by body mass index

More than one in three (37.3%) Australians who were overweight or obese had high total cholesterol, significantly higher than those with a BMI of under 25.

% High cholesterol by BMI (2)
  %
Underweight/normal (BMI less than 25) 25.8%
Overweight (BMI 25-29.9) 37.4%
Obese (BMI 30 or more) 37.0%

References

  1. Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010).
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey 2011/12. 

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