Risk factors for coronary heart disease in a population with a high prevalence of obesity and diabetes: A case-control study of the polynesian population of Western Samoa

Sudhir Wahi, Christoph D. Gatzka, Bridget Sherrard, Harrison Simpson, Veronica Collins, Gary Dowse, Paul Zimmet, Garry Jennings, Anthony M. Dart

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Objective: To evaluate anthropometric, haemodynamic and biochemical risk markers for coronary heart disease (CHD) in the Polynesian population of Western Samoa in a case-control study of 43 cases of CHD compared with 90 age- (mean 53 years) and sex-matched controls. Methods: Cases were identified on the basis of a 12-lead electrocardiogram and clinical history. Results: More than 60% of the participants had a body mass index ≤30 kg/m2 and nearly 80% had central obesity. Both diabetes mellitus (17%) and impaired glucose tolerance (9%) were also common in this population. Nineteen per cent of the population were hypertensive and both antihypertensive therapy (21 versus 1%, P<0.001, risk 23.6) and hypertension (35 versus 11%, P<0.01, risk 4.3) were significantly more common among cases than they were among controls. In addition, the plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level was lower (1.00±0.09 versus 1.94±0.05 mmol/l, P<0.05) and the plasma urate level was higher (0.42±0.02 versus 0.37±0.01 mmol/l, P<0.05) in the female cases than they were in their respective controls. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particle sizing did not reveal an excess of small LDL particles to be a feature of CHD cases, but more than 70% both of cases and of controls had multiple LDL species. The response of the triglyceride level to a fat-rich meal was the same for CHD cases and controls. Conclusion: The population studied had a high prevalence of several risk factors for CHD, including obesity and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus; however, the most prominent factor relating to CHD within the community was the presence of hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-178
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Risk
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronary heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Low-density lipoprotein particle size
  • Obesity
  • Polynesian
  • Risk factors
  • Samoa

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