Serum lipid levels for a multicultural population in Auckland, New Zealand: results from the Diabetes Heart and Health Survey (DHAH) 2002-2003.N Z Med J. 2007 Nov 09; 120(1265):U2800.NZ
To describe mean serum lipid concentrations for Maori, Pacific people (mostly of Samoan, Tongan, Niuean, or Cook Islands origin), and Others (mostly New Zealand-born Europeans), and to identify risk factors for an adverse lipid profile.
A cross-sectional survey of adults aged between 35-74 years within the Auckland area. There were 1006 Maori, 996 Pacific people, and 2021 'Others' Fasting blood samples were collected from participants, and total cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL), low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and triglycerides were measured.
Maori and Pacific people had similar mean serum total and LDL cholesterol levels but lower HDL levels and higher total to HDL cholesterol ratios compared to Others (adjusted for age and gender). Maori also had higher triglycerides than Others. High BMI and cigarette smoking were positively associated with unfavourable lipid profiles, while current alcohol drinking and vigorous leisure time activity were associated with increased HDL cholesterol and lower total to HDL cholesterol ratios. Over 90% of all ethnic groups had total cholesterol levels above currently accepted optimal levels (>4 mmol/L) and two-thirds were above 5 mmol/L. While 30% of Others had a total to HDL cholesterol ratio above the 'optimal' threshold of 4.5, 40% of Maori and 44% of pacific people were above this level.
This is the first study to simultaneously assess lipid levels in Maori, Pacific people, and Others in one population-based study. Despite similar total and LDL cholesterol levels in all ethnic groups; overweight, obesity, and current cigarette smoking were the main risk factors for their adverse lipid profiles. Engaging in leisure-time activity and alcohol consumption (and not surprisingly lipid-lowering drugs) were associated with better lipid profiles. We confirm that the main lipid-related cardiovascular disease risk in Maori and Pacific people is due to their low HDL and high triglyceride levels.