The N.C.E.P Guidelines
Whether or not the ingestion of cholesterol (via eggs, high-fat foods, etc.) is the cause of excessive blood levels of choesterol remains controversial. Some persons who eat very little cholesterol-laiden foods have genetically high levels of cholesterol naturally. None the less, the problem of high lipid levels is of enough concern that the US Department of Health and Human Services developed the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) in 1989 to combat the problem in this country. The NCEP recommends a low-saturated fat, low cholestrol diet, with weight loss (when indicated) to control and correct elevated plasma cholestrol levels.
Weight loss is accomplished by a restricted diet, or increase physical activity. Performing more exercise usually increases the levels of HDL. Studies have been performed on athletes and general fitness advocates and most investigations have shown significant changes in the levels of HDL after exercise. It is evident that aerobic conditioning brings about the most significant changes in HDL. Studies are now underway to determine whether or not resistance exercise produces the same types of changes in cholesterol and its sub-components as aerobic training.
The model of exercise programming into a treatment regime for elevated lipid levels would follow a three phase program (such as the cardiac rehabilitation section above). This program should start with an initial phase where supervised training teaches clients the benefits of conditioning and their effects on lipid levels. They will then move to a phase whereby they assume more responsibility for a self-paced program, and the instructor changes in the routine and records outcomes information for medical professionals and payors.