This is the first study to assess the role of waist-to-hip ratio in explaining race differences in levels of serum apolipoprotein A1, a protective risk factor for atherosclerosis.
Linear regression analyses were used in a community-based survey of 3,043 adults (23.5% African-American) to assess associations of race, age, anthropometric measures, education, diabetes, blood pressure medication use, cigarette smoking, and leisure-time physical activity with apolipoprotein A1 levels.
Higher apolipoprotein A1 levels were observed among African-American than among white adults (African-American men: +15.6 mg/dl than white men, African-American women: +3.1 mg/dl more than white women; p < 0.05). Waist-to-hip ratio and other variables did not account for race differences among men. African-American women had +8.6 mg/dl higher levels than white women after adjustment for differing distributions of waist-to-hip ratio, age, body mass index and education. Cigarette smoking, physical activity, and medical history accounted for no further differences among women.
Higher levels of obesity indicators and lower educational attainment among African-American women reduced a potentially greater beneficial race difference in apolipoprotein A1. These findings also suggest that other environmental and biochemical factors may play roles in explaining the higher protective levels of apolipoprotein A1 observed among African-American children and adults.