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Am J Hum Biol. 2003 Sep-Oct;15(5):688-96.

Atherogenic lipid profiles in Filipino adolescents with low body mass index and low dietary fat intake.

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Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.


This study reports mean lipid levels and their association with body composition, diet, and activity level in 300 male and 308 female adolescents (14-16 years) living in Cebu City, the Philippines. Participants were selected from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS), a 1-year birth cohort study begun in 1982-83. Lipid profiles suggest high cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in this sample, despite low intake of dietary fat (22% for both sexes) and an absence of obesity (0.3% of sample). Mean lipid levels for males and females were, respectively, 153.2 mg/dl and 182.5 mg/dl for total cholesterol (TC), 91.9 mg/dl and 104.6 mg/dl for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), 38.3 mg/dl and 41.3 mg/dl for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, geometric mean), and 73.9 mg/dl and 79.6 mg/dl for triglycerides (TG, geometric mean). The atherogenic ratio of TC/HDL-C was high at 4.16 and 4.55 for males and females. Adjusting for maturational changes, the body mass index (BMI) and skinfold measures were positively associated with most lipids in males. Among females, BMI and skinfolds related positively to LDL-C and TG, and inversely to HDL-C. Although males had a higher waist hip ratio (WHR), WHR only predicted lipid profiles in females. Activity level had a beneficial association with lipid profiles in both sexes, while dietary fat intake was positively associated with LDL-C in males and with HDL-C in females. In sum, diet, adiposity, and physical activity predict variability in lipid profiles in this adolescent Filipino population. However, the low fat intake and near-absence of obesity raise questions about the causes of the high apparent risk for future CVD in this young population.

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