An encouraging improvement in the lipid profiles of young people in the U.S. over the past 20 years was unveiled recently through data revealed in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which involved more than 16,000 young people ages 6 to nineteen. Still, these positive changes occurred during a study period where an overall up-tick in in obesity also took place.

The survey, concluded during the years from 1988 to 1994, identified the following findings: The number of cases of elevated total cholesterol dropped from 11.4 percent to 8.1 percent. What’s more, HDL (good cholesterol) rose from 50.5 mg/dL to 52.2 mg/dL. Additionally, the average total cholesterol dropped from 165 mg/dL to 160 mg/dL.

Researchers reported a positive overall trend in youth, and what was also encouraging was that this trend was mirrored with similar positive changes in the lipid profiles of adults.

Possible explanations offered by researchers as to why cholesterol would improve while obesity worsened and levels of physical activity decreased, include successful implementation of healthy-lifestyle interventions as well as shifts in the diets of Americans. Specifically, they  point to  a switch in our diets of switching in carbs for dietary fat, especially nutritionally poor carbohydrates. This could be a trend that  may have promoted obesity and the shift could also explain the reported changes in lipid profiles.