National surveys have shown that adults need to know more about their own blood cholesterol levels and about specific methods for lowering blood cholesterol. We examine patient perceptions of cholesterol and heart disease after their participation in a cholesterol management program designed for the primary care setting. We counseled 221 patients and successfully interviewed 179 by telephone four weeks after their initial dietary counseling visit. Nine of 10 patients could report their cholesterol level, and 98% of patients could appropriately label it as borderline-high or high-risk. Ninety-seven percent of the patients could give one valid reason why cholesterol was important to their health. Many patients knew specific dietary recommendations from counselors. Patients positively reviewed counseling and the cholesterol management program. A large percentage of patients had already made changes in diet and eating habits at the time of the interview. Total cholesterol measurements showed a mean reduction of 8.5% postcounseling.