Less Exercise Raises Cholesterol Levels in Young Women

How your body reacts to stress may increase your risk of high cholesterol levels. Not surprisingly, a lack of exercise -- particularly among young women -- can have the same effect, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed health information from some 5,000 patients participating in the 22-year Minnesota Heart Survey. The report was good news for older adults who had lower cholesterol levels than 20 years ago, although scientists speculated those health gains were thanks to statins, dangerous and completely unnecessary drugs.

Cholesterol levels rose, however, for one significant age group: Women ages 25-34. And, exercise -- not obesity -- was the culprit, according to researchers.

The good news is you can normalize your cholesterol levels easily by making two simple lifestyle changes:

Circulation, Vol. 112, No. 25, December 20, 2005: 3884-3891

ABC News December 14, 2005

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