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 PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The good news is that most people are aware of the health risks associated with high cholesterol.
 The bad news is that more than 60 percent of Americans do not know their cholesterol levels.
 These were just some of the findings of a cholesterol awareness study sponsored recently by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, Princeton, N.J., during the period of Aug. 27 to 30, 1992. The margin for error is plus-or-minus 2 percent. The telephone survey, conducted among more than 1,000 respondents nationwide, revealed that while the overall message about the dangers of high cholesterol has made an impact with the majority of the American public, serious gaps in education still persist.
 For example, the study showed strong awareness levels of the health risks associated with high cholesterol, with 75 percent of respondents able to identify heart attack and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) as a possible result of high cholesterol levels.
 Yet only 20 percent were aware that hardening of the arteries actually can begin in the pre-teen years. According to Dennis R. Cryer, MD, medical director of Cardiovasculars, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, this is a particularly dangerous misconception. "The public has the misperception of high cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis as pertaining to middle-age," said Cryer, "when in reality preventive behavior and lifestyle habits should begin in childhood."
 The survey results support this analysis. Awareness of cholesterol levels was lowest in the 18 to 24 age group, with 88 percent responding that they did not know their cholesterol levels. However, awareness increases to 50 percent among respondents 45 to 64.
 Among respondents who were aware of their cholesterol levels, 66 percent had levels in the range of 170 to 200 mg/dl, which is desirable, indicating a correlation between an individual's awareness of his or her cholesterol levels and efforts to maintain healthy levels.
 Awareness was lowest among African Americans (22 percent), matching high rates of hypertension, heart attack and stoke. Awareness levels increase along economic lines, with 58 percent of households making $50,000 or more reporting that they know their cholesterol levels.
 Forty-two percent of respondents believed that the incidence of high cholesterol is greater among men than women, with 31 percent responding that the sexes are at equal risk. This also is an inaccurate perception. According

to the 1992 edition of Heart and Stroke Facts, published by the American Heart Association (AHA), approximately 50 percent of women ages 55 to 74 have cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dl or above; percentages for men in the same age group range from 31.7 percent to 36.8 percent. This higher incidence is reflected in AHA statistics -- approximately 30,000 more women than men die from cardiovascular disease and stroke each year.
 "What this survey tells us is that cholesterol education must be an ongoing, evolving process," said Cryer. "By measuring the public's perception of the cholesterol issue, we can continue to refine our message to address areas of misperception, in order to reach those who have not yet been properly educated about he risks of high cholesterol."
 A current example of this ongoing education effort may be found at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, where an exhibit dramatically illustrates the dangers of high cholesterol and atherosclerosis through three-dimensional holograms and a walk-through artery. A similar exhibit will open in February 1993 at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J. Both exhibits are sponsored by the AHA through an education grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
 Bristol-Myers Squibb is a research-based, diversified health care company whose principal businesses are pharmaceuticals, consumer products, nutritional and medical devices. It is among the world's leading makers of cardiovascular, anticancer, anti-infective, central nervous system and dermatological drug therapies, diagnostic agents and non-prescriptive medicines.
 -0- 1/6/93
 /CONTACT: Patrick Donohue of Bristol-Myers Squibb, 609-252-5685, or Belle Gauvry of Earle Palmer Brown & Spiro, 215-851-9676, for Bristol- Myers Squibb/

CO: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company ST: Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:

CC-JS -- PH024 -- 2420 01/06/93 17:58 EST
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Date:Jan 6, 1993

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