Between 1988 and 2010, average total cholesterol values for American adults dropped from 206 to 196. This may not seem like a lot, but on a population basis that is a major shift in the right direction. Values under 200 are considered heart healthy. That is the good news.
The bad news is that the downward shift in cholesterol values were probably achieved by the combined use of cholesterol-lowering medication and the removal of trans fat from many processed foods. The researchers noted that between 1998 and 2008 the amount of saturated fat did not go down. There was little progress made in getting people to exercise regularly and the percentage of Americans who are overweight or obese remains over 65%.