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

Julienne N. Rutherford*, Thomas W. McDade, Alan B. Feranil, Linda S. Adair, Christopher W. Kuzawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Dyslipidemia
  • Epidemiology
  • Low HDL-c
  • Risk factors
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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