[Skip to Navigation]
October 1991

Increasing Impact of Obesity on Serum Lipids and Lipoproteins in Young Adults: The Bogalusa Heart Study

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Ms Wattigney and Drs Harsha, Srinivasan, Webber, and Berenson), Biochemistry (Dr Srinivasan), and Biometry and Genetics (Dr Webber), Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans.

Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(10):2017-2022. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400100093016

Obesity is an important determinant of serum lipids and lipoproteins in adults. Since obesity begins early in life, the impact of obesity of serum lipid and lipoprotein levels was examined in 3311 children and young adults (ages 5 to 26 years) from a totally biracial community. Study subjects were grouped according to race, sex, and age categories (5 to 10 years, 11 to 16 years, 17 to 22 years, and 23 to 26 years), excluding females using oral contraceptives or who were pregnant. Overall, associations increase with age, being most prominently noted in white males. The strong positive relation of ponderosity to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was indicated in the older age groups with correlation coefficients ranging from r= —.09 in the youngest black males to r =.47 in white males aged 17 to 22 years. A negative association was noted between ponderosity and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol with correlation coefficients ranging from r=.08 in black females aged 17 to 22 years to r= —.39 in the oldest white males. Similar results were seen using subscapular skinfold thickness as a measure of central obesity. Overweight was defined as exceeding 20% above the National Health Anthropometric and Nutritional Examination Survey II survey 50th percentiles. The prevalence of overweight individuals increased with age, being most prominent in black females. The percent(s) of hypercholesterolemic cases, based on the National Cholesterol Education Program criteria, likewise increased with age. A marked proportion of older white males were classified as borderline high and high for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. A regression model using subscapular skinfold to predict serum lipids and lipoproteins within each age group indicated a consistent increase in the adverse nature of the lipid profile. Intervention and education programs aimed at reducing obesity at younger ages are recommended to reduce serum lipid and lipoprotein levels developing in young adulthood.

(Arch Intern Med.1991;151:2017-2022)

Add or change institution