The east Baltimore study. I. Plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels in an inner city black population

P. O. Kwiterovich, J. A. Jenkins., P. Van Natta

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4 Scopus citations


The distributions of plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and the influence of age, sex and hormone use on these lipids were studied in a black, inner city population that resided in 11 census tracts in East Baltimore. Using an area random sample, 6,050 of 46,209 people in 1,906 of 13,824 dwelling units were eligible for the study. Of 2,460 total participants (41% response rate), 2,372 were black. The plasma lipids were analyzed in a standardized laboratory on plasma from 1,402 fasting, nonpregnant, black subjects. The number of participants (372 males, 417 females) was greatest in the pediatric and young adult (<20 years of age) groups. In the first two decades, the mean plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels were higher in the females than in the males. In the males in the second decade, there was a statistically significant negative regression of plasma cholesterol with age while that of plasma triglyceride was significantly positive. In the adults, mean plasma lipid levels were higher in each succeeding decade until the fifth decade, when a plateau occurred. The adult females had a higher mean plasma cholesterol level but a lower mean triglyceride level than the adult males. In the second and third decades, plasma levels of triglyceride but not of cholesterol were significantly higher in women using hormones than in those not using hormones. We conclude that there are significant age and sex differences in lipid levels in this population and that hormone use affects plasma triglyceride levels. Finally, the cholesterol levels in this East Baltimore sample were consistently lower than those previously reported in other black United States populations, a difference that may be related to the low socioeconomic status of this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalJohns Hopkins Medical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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