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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19(1):57-67.

High prevalence of low HDL-c in the Philippines compared to the US: population differences in associations with diet and BMI.

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  • 1University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Oral Biology, College of Dentistry, 801 S. Paulina Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. ruther4d@uic.edu


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death in the Philippines, although few studies here have examined the lipid profiles underlying disease risk. The isolated low high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) phenotype has been implicated as a CVD risk factor, the prevalence of which exhibits significant variation across populations. To assess population variation in individual lipid components and their associations with diet and anthropometric characteristics, we compare lipid profiles in a population of adult Filipino women (n=1877) to US women participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, n=477). We conducted multiple regression models to assess the relationship between lipid components, body mass index, and dietary variables in the two populations. We measured the prevalence of lipid phenotypes, and logistic regression models determined the predictors of the isolated low HDL-c phenotype. High density lipoprotein cholesterol was lower in the Philippines (40.8+/-0.2 mg/dL) than in NHANES (60.7+/-0.7 mg/dL). The prevalence of the isolated low HDL-c phenotype was 28.8%, compared to 2.10% in NHANES. High prevalence among Filipinos was relatively invariant across all levels of BMI, but was strongly inversely related to BMI in NHANES and exhibited only at the BMI>25 kg/m2 threshold. Diet did not consistently predict the low-HDL phenotype in Filipinos. Filipino women exhibit a high prevalence of the isolated low HDL-c phenotype, which is largely decoupled from anthropometric factors. The relationship of CVD to population variation in dyslipidemia and body composition needs further study, particularly in populations where the burden of cardiovascular and metabolic disease is rapidly increasing.

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