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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SERUM TRIGLYCERIDES AND SKINFOLD THICKNESS IN OBESE SUBJECTS *

M. Albrink, J. Meigs
Published 1965 · Medicine

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Affluence has been blamed for many of the ills of modern man. Degenerative diseases of atherosclerosis, hypertension, and diabetes seem in vague ways to be associated with lack of exercise, too much food, too little exposure to the physical tribulations of life, and too much frustration and psychic stress. Life insurance statistics show an increased death rate from coronary disease and hypertension with increasing obesity.' Thus one of the effects of affluence which has been associated with increased death rate from many diseases is obesity. We have been engaged in a long-term study of serum lipids in normal male factory workers. The investigation was initiated because of the finding of hyperglyceridemia in many patients with coronary artery disease, especially those over 50 years of age.' One of the aims was to examine the relationship between serum triglycerides and any measurable characteristics of these men, such as inheritance, physical characteristics, and life habits or other attributes which might offer clues to the etiology of the hyperglyceridemia. An exhaustive analysis of various traits of the men has revealed two important factors which are associated with and therefore might plausibly be said to cause hyperglyceridemia. They are inheritance and obesity. The effect of inheritance was manifest by the higher triglycerides in men with a positive family history for diabetes, stroke or coronary disease than in men with no such family history, but the effect was Obesity had an even greater effect, yet there were some difficulties in quantitating this relationship. When obesity was expressed simply in terms of the somatic index (height/3\ *weight) a correlation was found with hyperglyceridemia which was statistically significant but of too low an order t o be of practical value. This relationship was chiefly due to the lack of triglyceride elevation in the very slender men; only the thinnest seven per cent of the population could be guaranteed normal triglycerides. Many obese men had normal triglycerides and the highest triglycerides were found in men with only average adiposity.
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