Comparison of serum lipid levels among Korean, Korean-Chinese, and Han-Chinese adolescents

Kyung Kim Mi, Inho Kwak, Moran Ki, Jinu Fang, Ja Kim Hyun, Youl Choi Bo

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Purpose: To follow offspring of emigrants from Korea to China to assess the effects of obesity and urbanization/westernization on atherogenic risk profiles. Obesity and serum lipid levels during adolescence are associated with risk for atherosclerotic diseases during adulthood, but the effect of obesity on serum lipid levels in relatively lean populations is unclear, particularly among adolescents. Methods: The correlation of anthropometric measures with serum lipids was assessed in 2345 adolescents aged 16 to 18 years (four study groups: Korean-Chinese, n = 701; Korean-Rural, n = 671; Korean-Urban, n = 523; and Han-Chinese, n = 450). Results: orean adolescents had higher average total cholesterol (TC) levels (146 mg/dl and 156 mg/dl for boys and girls, respectively) compared with Chinese adolescents (127 mg/dl and 143 mg/dl in China, respectively). The racial difference in atherogenic lipids (TC, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL-C], or their ratio to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-C]) between Korean-Chinese and Han-Chinese was not found, but the urbanization difference among Korean adolescents (Korean-Chinese, Korean-Rural, and Korean-Urban) was obvious. The correlations of serum lipid levels with obesity indices were significant in TC, LDL-C, TC/HDL-C, LDL-C/HDL-C, and triglyceride (TG) among boys (p <. 001) and in HDL-C, TC/HDL-C, LDL-C/HDL-C, and TG among girls (p <. 05), but not strongly correlated (Pearson r <. 2). Conclusions: Significantly higher levels of TC and LDL-C (approximately 20 mg/dl) in Korean adolescents compared with Chinese adolescents were not owing to obesity or any racial difference. These findings underscore the importance of health promotion strategies including changes of lifestyle during childhood and adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-507
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2005 Jun


  • Adolescents
  • Asia
  • Cholesterol
  • Developing countries
  • High-density lipoproteins (HDL)
  • Lipids
  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDL)
  • Triglycerides

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