Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 67–73 | Cite as

Ethnic Variation in Lipid Profile and Its Associations with Body Composition and Diet: Differences Between Iranians, Indians and Caucasians Living in Australia

  • Majid Meshkini
  • Fariba Alaei-Shahmiri
  • Cyril Mamotte
  • Jaya Earnest
Original Paper


Dyslipidaemia is a known risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. The impact of ethnicity on variations in lipid patterns has been studied in certain racial and ethnic groups with limited data on other ethnicities, particularly Asian subgroups. This cross-sectional study evaluated the ethnic variation in lipid profile and its association with body composition and diet in ninety-one overweight and obese Australians of European (n = 32), Indian (n = 28) and Iranian (n = 31) ancestries. Different measures of total and truncal adiposity were assessed using the method of whole body dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The results showed that serum total cholesterol (TC) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-chol) levels in Iranians were significantly lower than in Europeans and Indians. Both Iranian and Indian groups exhibited lower mean high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-chol) relative to Europeans. Triglycerides (TG) and HDL-chol, but not TC and LDL-chol, were significantly associated with different truncal adiposity measurements; however the degree of associations varied in ethnic groups. Regression analysis showed ethnicity as a significant predictor of TC (p = 0.01), TG (p = 0.03) and HDL-chol (p = 0.04), after controlling for potential confounders. However, LDL-chol was significantly associated with the intake of total (p = 0.005), and saturated fats (p = 0.004), which were also other significant determinants of serum TC (p = 0.04 and p = 0.02, respectively). In conclusion, ethnicity was a strong predictor of serum lipids, except LDL-chol which was significantly determined by dietary fat intake. Prevention and management of obesity, particularly abdominal adiposity may effectively reduce the risk of low HDL-chol reported in Iranians and Indians.


Ethnicity Serum lipids Australians Iranians Indians 


  1. 1.
    Farnier M. Dyslipidemia and abdominal obesity: mechanisms and characteristics (Part I). Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss. 2007;100(12):979–84.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Klop B, Elte JW, Cabezas MC. Dyslipidemia in obesity: mechanisms and potential targets. Nutrients. 2013;5(4):1218–40.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Randall OS, Retta TM, Kwagyan J, Gordeuk VR, Xu S, Maqbool AR, Ketete M, Obisesan TO. Obese African Americans: the prevalence of dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. Ethn Dis. 2004;14(3):384–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Australian Bureau of Statistics: Australian Health Survey: biomedical results for chronic diseases, 2011–12. In: Canberra; 2013.
  5. 5.
    Friedewald WT, Levy RI, Fredrickson DS. Estimation of the concentration of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in plasma, without use of the preparative ultracentrifuge. Clin Chem. 1972;18(6):499–502.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Giles GG, Ireland P. Dietary questionnaire for epidemiological studies (version 2). Melbourne: The Cancer Council Victoria; 1996.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hodge A, Patterson A, Brown W, Ireland P, Giles G. The Anti Cancer Council of Victoria FFQ: relative validity of nutrient intakes compared with weighed food records in young to middle-aged women in a study of iron supplementation. Aust N Z J Public Health. 2000;24(6):576–83.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Craig C, Marshall A, Sjöström M, Bauman A, Booth M, Ainsworth B, Pratt M, Ekelund U, Yngve A, Sallis J, The IPAQ, Consensus Group and the IPAQ Reliability and Validity Study Group. International physical activity questionnaire (IPAQ): 12-country reliability and validity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003;35:1381–95.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    McQuillan BM, Beilby JP, Nidorf M, Thompson PL, Hung J. Hyperhomocysteinemia but not the C677T mutation of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase is an independent risk determinant of carotid wall thickening. The Perth Carotid Ultrasound Disease Assessment Study (CUDAS). Circulation. 1999;99(18):2383–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chow CK, McQuillan B, Raju PK, Iyengar S, Raju R, Harmer JA, Neal BC, Celermajer DS. Greater adverse effects of cholesterol and diabetes on carotid intima-media thickness in South Asian Indians: comparison of risk factor-IMT associations in two population-based surveys. Atherosclerosis. 2008;199(1):116–22.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jeyaseelan L, Rao PS. Methods of determining sample sizes in clinical trials. Indian Pediatr. 1989;26(2):115–21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Azizi F, Rahmani M, Emami H, Mirmiran P, Hajipour R, Madjid M, Ghanbili J, Ghanbarian A, Mehrabi Y, Saadat N, et al. Cardiovascular risk factors in an Iranian urban population: Tehran lipid and glucose study (phase 1). Soz Praventivmed. 2002;47(6):408–26.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Azizi F, Rahmani M, Ghanbarian A, Emami H, Salehi P, Mirmiran P, Sarbazi N. Serum lipid levels in an Iranian adults population: Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study. Eur J Epidemiol. 2003;18(4):311–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kelishadi R, Pour MH, Zadegan NS, Kahbazi M, Sadry G, Amani A, Ansari R, Alikhassy H, Bashardoust N. Dietary fat intake and lipid profiles of Iranian adolescents: Isfahan Healthy Heart Program–Heart Health Promotion from childhood. Prev Med. 2004;39(4):760–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kelishadi R, Haghjooy Javanmard S, Tajadini MH, Mansourian M, Motlagh ME, Ardalan G, Ban M. Genetic association with low concentrations of high density lipoprotein-cholesterol in a pediatric population of the Middle East and North Africa: the CASPIAN-III study. Atherosclerosis. 2014;237(1):273–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tresaco B, Moreno LA, Ruiz JR, Ortega FB, Bueno G, Gonzalez-Gross M, Warnberg J, Gutierrez A, Garcia-Fuentes M, Marcos A, et al. Truncal and abdominal fat as determinants of high triglycerides and low HDL-cholesterol in adolescents. Obesity. 2009;17(5):1086–91.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Flodmark CE, Sveger T, Nilsson-Ehle P. Waist measurement correlates to a potentially atherogenic lipoprotein profile in obese 12–14-year-old children. Acta Paediatr. 1994;83(9):941–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Haffner SM, Stern MP, Hazuda HP, Pugh J, Patterson JK. Do upper-body and centralized adiposity measure different aspects of regional body-fat distribution? Relationship to non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, lipids, and lipoproteins. Diabetes. 1987;36(1):43–51.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gupta R, Guptha S, Agrawal A, Kaul V, Gaur K, Gupta VP. Secular trends in cholesterol lipoproteins and triglycerides and prevalence of dyslipidemias in an urban Indian population. Lipids Health Dis. 2008;7:40.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Shahraki T, Shahraki M, Roudbari M, Gargari BP. Determination of the leading central obesity index among cardiovascular risk factors in Iranian women. Food Nutr Bull. 2008;29(1):43–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Anderson KM, Wilson PW, Garrison RJ, Castelli WP. Longitudinal and secular trends in lipoprotein cholesterol measurements in a general population sample. The Framingham Offspring Study. Atherosclerosis. 1987;68(1–2):59–66.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Bozorgmanesh MR, Hadaegh F, Padyab M, Mehrabi Y, Azizi F. Temporal changes in anthropometric parameters and lipid profile according to body mass index among an adult Iranian urban population. Ann Nutr Metab. 2008;53(1):13–22.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dattilo AM, Kris-Etherton PM. Effects of weight reduction on blood lipids and lipoproteins: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992;56(2):320–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Bays HE, Toth PP, Kris-Etherton PM, Abate N, Aronne LJ, Brown WV, Gonzalez-Campoy JM, Jones SR, Kumar R, La Forge R, et al. Obesity, adiposity, and dyslipidemia: a consensus statement from the National Lipid Association. J Clin Lipidol. 2013;7(4):304–83.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Raji A, Seely EW, Arky RA, Simonson DC. Body fat distribution and insulin resistance in healthy Asian Indians and Caucasians. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001;86(11):5366–71.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Valsamakis G, Chetty R, Anwar A, Banerjee AK, Barnett A, Kumar S. Association of simple anthropometric measures of obesity with visceral fat and the metabolic syndrome in male Caucasian and Indo-Asian subjects. Diabet Med. 2004;21(12):1339–45.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bhardwaj S, Misra A, Misra R, Goel K, Bhatt SP, Rastogi K, Vikram NK, Gulati S. High prevalence of abdominal, intra-abdominal and subcutaneous adiposity and clustering of risk factors among urban Asian Indians in North India. PLoS ONE. 2011;6(9):e24362.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Banerji MA, Faridi N, Atluri R, Chaiken RL, Lebovitz HE. Body composition, visceral fat, leptin, and insulin resistance in Asian Indian men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999;84(1):137–44.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Wycherley TP, Moran LJ, Clifton PM, Noakes M, Brinkworth GD. Effects of energy-restricted high-protein, low-fat compared with standard-protein, low-fat diets: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;96(6):1281–98.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Mirmiran P, Ramezankhani A, Hekmatdoost A, Azizi F. Effect of nutrition intervention on non-communicable disease risk factors among Tehranian adults: Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study. Ann Nutr Metab. 2008;52(2):91–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ghosh A. Comparison of anthropometric, metabolic and dietary fatty acids profiles in lean and obese dyslipidaemic Asian Indian male subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007;61(3):412–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kelishadi R, Hashemipour M, Sheikh-Heidar A, Ghatreh-Samani S. Changes in serum lipid profile of obese or overweight children and adolescents following a lifestyle modification course. ARYA Atheroscler. 2012;8(3):143–8.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Huffman KM, Hawk VH, Henes ST, Ocampo CI, Orenduff MC, Slentz CA, Johnson JL, Houmard JA, Samsa GP, Kraus WE, et al. Exercise effects on lipids in persons with varying dietary patterns-does diet matter if they exercise? Responses in studies of a targeted risk reduction intervention through defined exercise I. Am Heart J. 2012;164(1):117–24.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    de Roos N, Schouten E, Katan M. Consumption of a solid fat rich in lauric acid results in a more favorable serum lipid profile in healthy men and women than consumption of a solid fat rich in trans-fatty acids. J Nutr. 2001;131(2):242–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Roberts CK, Barnard RJ, Liang KH, Vaziri ND. Effect of diet on adipose tissue and skeletal muscle VLDL receptor and LPL: implications for obesity and hyperlipidemia. Atherosclerosis. 2002;161(1):133–41.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Mozaffarian D, Abdollahi M, Campos H, Houshiarrad A, Willett WC. Consumption of trans fats and estimated effects on coronary heart disease in Iran. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007;61(8):1004–10.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Brown L, Rosner B, Willett WW, Sacks FM. Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;69(1):30–42.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Olatunji LA, Soladoye AO. Effect of increased magnesium intake on plasma cholesterol, triglyceride and oxidative stress in alloxan-diabetic rats. Afr J Med Med Sci. 2007;36(2):155–61.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Ditscheid B, Keller S, Jahreis G. Cholesterol metabolism is affected by calcium phosphate supplementation in humans. J Nutr. 2005;135(7):1678–82.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Sharifi F, Mousavinasab SN, Soruri R, Saeini M, Dinmohammadi M. High prevalence of low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations and other dyslipidemic phenotypes in an Iranian population. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2008;6(3):187–95.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Schwandt P, Kelishadi R, Haas GM. Ethnic disparities of the metabolic syndrome in population-based samples of German and Iranian adolescents. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2010;8(2):189–92.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Majid Meshkini
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fariba Alaei-Shahmiri
    • 3
  • Cyril Mamotte
    • 4
  • Jaya Earnest
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for International HealthCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Endocrine Research Center, Institute of Endocrinology and MetabolismIran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Research Center for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Institute of Endocrinology and MetabolismIran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.School of Biomedical SciencesCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia

Personalised recommendations