Research report| Volume 117, ISSUE 1, P1-13, September 1995

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Serum lipid values in adolescents are related to family history, infant feeding, and physical growth

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      Total serum cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides (TG), apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I), apolipoprotein B (apo B), and lipoprotein (a) (Lp(a)) were analysed in 879 14- and 17-year-old healthy adolescents (477 boys and 402 girls), and related to family history of cardiovascular disease, early feeding, weight and length at birth, and physical growth during infancy and childhood. Mean TC was significantly higher in girls than in boys (4.4 and 4.2 mmol/1, respectively, both age-groups together). High TC values (> 5.2 mmol/1) were more prevalent in girls than in boys: 14% and 17% compared to 6% and 12% in 14- and 17-year-old girls and boys, respectively. Mean TC and LDL-C values were lower during mid-puberty in both boys and girls while, in boys but not in girls, mean HDL-C values decreased and TG values increased successively with increasing pubertal stage. Girls who were taking oral contraceptives had higher mean values of TC (4.91/4.39 mmol/l), TG (1.32/0.83 mmol/l), and apo B (0.89/0.73 g/l). Boys with a family history of early deaths (< 55 years) from myocardial infarction and girls with a family history of cerebral haemorrhage/thrombosis in fathers had higher mean values of TC (4.55/4.17 and 5.03/4.40 mmol/l, for boys and girls, respectively), LDL-C (2.84/2.47 and 3.08/2.56mmol/l), and apo B (0.73/0.70 and 0.86/0.73 g/l). Adolescents with short duration of breast feeding (< 6 months), or early introduction of infant formula, had higher mean values of TC (4.29/4.14 mmol/l) and apo B (0.72/0.68 g/l). There were no significant correlations between serum lipid values and body weight or length at birth, but adolescents with high LDL-C (upper quartile) seemed to have lower attained heights during infancy and childhood. In conclusion, this study shows that serum lipids in adolescence are primarily related to age and sex but also to early determinants like family history of cardiovascular diseases, infant feeding, and early physical growth.


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