Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública (Oct 2000)
Plasma lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in Costa Rican adolescents
This study assessed plasma lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents in a developing Latin American country and compared those risk factors to those of adolescents in the United States of America, where the risk of heart disease is high. In a cross-sectional study, data were collected from September 1998 to April 1999 on 161 Costa Rican adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20. A general questionnaire was used to collect demographic, smoking, socioeconomic, and women's health data. Anthropometric measurements, blood pressure, and a fasting blood sample were taken. The Costa Rican males had lower levels of total cholesterol than did the Costa Rican females (mean ± standard error of the mean (SEM), 149 ± 6.5 mg/dL vs. 158 ± 6.3 mg/dL). This was mainly due to lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in males than in females (mean ± SEM, 38 ± 2.0 mg/dL vs. 44 ± 2.4 mg/dL). As compared to the United States, adolescents in this study had lower levels of total cholesterol, largely due to lower HDL cholesterol. Both genders of Costa Ricans had levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that were similar to those of counterpart groups in the United States. Costa Rican male and female adolescents had higher LDL/HDL ratios than did their United States counterparts. Therefore, as compared to the United States, Costa Rican adolescents have an adverse lipid profile as demonstrated by a higher LDL/HDL ratio. Overweight prevalence in Costa Rica was 13%, approaching the 15% overall level of the United States.