High cholesterol

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Contains key statistics and information about high cholesterol and its prevalence in Australia

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Key statistics

  • One in twelve (8.4% or 2.1 million) people had self-reported high cholesterol in 2022
  • The prevalence of high cholesterol has increased since 2011–12 (6.8%)
  • Almost three in ten (29.0%) people aged 75 years and over had high cholesterol

These statistics form part of the National Health Survey 2022. More information on other topics of interest from the survey are available on the National Health Survey 2022 page.

Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in the blood. It is essential for many metabolic processes, including the production of hormones and building cells. Too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can lead to fatty deposits building up in the blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow and increasing the risk of heart disease or stroke[1].

Self-reported high cholesterol

In 2022, 8.4% (2.1 million) of people reported high cholesterol, which was an increase from 2011–12 (6.8%). Males and females had similar rates of high cholesterol (8.3% and 8.4%).

As with many health conditions, the prevalence of high cholesterol increases with age with a sharp increase from 45 years onwards. The rate of high cholesterol increased from 1.1% for people aged 18–34 years, to 8.8% for people aged 45–54 years and then more than tripled to 29.0% for people aged 75 years and over.

Two in three (66.0%) adults with high cholesterol had a measured waist circumference that put them at a substantially increased risk of disease.

  1. A waist measurement of 94cm or more for males and 80cm or more for females.
  2. A waist measurement of 102cm or more for males and 88cm or more for females.

Data downloads

See the National Health Survey 2022 data downloads for the full suite of available data. Data relating to High cholesterol can be found in tables:

  • TABLE 1 Summary health characteristics, 2001 to 2022
  • TABLE 2 Summary health characteristics, by states and territories
  • TABLE 3 Long-term health conditions, by age and sex
  • TABLE 4 Selected long-term health conditions, by population characteristics
  • TABLE 5 Selected long-term health conditions, by health risk factors and health status
  • TABLE 15 Number of chronic conditions, by population characteristics, by age
  • TABLE 16 Comorbidity of selected chronic conditions, by age and sex.


  1. The Heart Foundation, ‘Blood cholesterol’, https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/Bundles/Your-heart/High-blood-cholesterol; accessed 15/11/2023.

Media release

See National Health Survey 2022 media release for more information.




  • all usual residents in Australia aged 0+ years living in private dwellings.
  • urban and rural areas in all states and territories, excluding very remote parts of Australia and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.


The data available includes estimates for:

  • Australia
  • States and territories


The National Health Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Collection method

Face-to-face interview with an Australian Bureau of Statistics Interviewer.

Concepts, sources and methods

Health conditions are presented using a classification which is based on the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10).

History of changes

Not applicable to this release.

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