Date of Award:

1965

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Food and Nutrition

Abstract

Although many theories have been formulated concerning atherosclerosis and its relationship to the incidence of coronary heart disease, few actual facts are known. It is known that atherosclerosis is very complex and appears to be influenced by many factors. It is postulated that an elevated serum cholesterol level is one predisposing factor.

Serum cholesterol levels are likewise influenced by many factors. Age, sex, body build, exercise, socio-economic levels, smoking, health status, weight loss or gain, dietary fat, endocrine function, and stress have been shown to be related to serum cholesterol levels, and according to some authors also are related to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Other research has shown contradictory findings.

Since there is a high incidence of coronary heart disease in humans of middle-age and older in the United States, a great deal of research has been done on subjects of this age group. However, there appears to be no cure once the atheroma have been formed in the arteries, and, of necessity, attention must be focused on prevention of these plaques rather than curing them. This would suggest an early awareness of preventive measures and an early effort to prevent such complications. Working with preadolescents and adolescents is one implication. It is evident that general health education of these young people is useful. However, it would be especially helpful if possible trouble could be located in the early years of life and preventive measures taken. There has not been a general practice of determining serum cholesterol levels in young people, and there is not likely to be a need. Since height and weight data are taken regularly, if these data were plotted on growth charts, it would not be difficult to determine obesity and abrupt changes in growth in school-aged children. If obesity and abrupt changes in growth in school-aged children. If obesity were related to coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and serum cholesterol, then it might be used as an indication for need to take precautionary measures. It is possible that the necessary preventive measures could be begun early and consequently help to reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis and thus coronary heart disease.

The new-born infant has a very low serum cholesterol level which rises abruptly to near-adult values within the first few weeks or months of life. Few longitudinal studies have been made on pre-adolescents and adolescents and there is little agreement concerning the serum cholesterol pattern for these age groups. This period of adolescence is one of emotional stress. It is the beginning of many adult habits and of many of the stresses felt by adults. Therefore, it appears that it would be worthwhile to study young people and some of the characteristics which effect their serum cholesterol levels.

The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not there is a relationship between body build, age, and sex and serum cholesterol levels. Since hemoglobin values may be considered an aid in determining physical status, hemoglobin values will also be discussed in relationship to serum cholesterol levels of preadolescents and adolescents in Box Elder County and Cache County, Utah.

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