Association between height and hypercholesterolemia in adults: A nationwide population-based study in Korea

Mi Yeon Lee, Ga Eun Nam, Kyungdo Han, Da Hye Kim, Yang Hyun Kim, Kyung Hwan Cho, Yong Gyu Park

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Background: Previous studies reported that stature is inversely related to the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, there is limited evidence on the association between height and lipid profiles. We aimed to examine the association of height with total cholesterol and hypercholesterolemia based on the nationally representative dataset of Korean adults. Methods: The data of 13,701 adults aged ≥19 years who participated in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2013-2015) were used in this nationwide population-based cross-sectional study. Hypercholesterolemia was defined as a serum total cholesterol level ≥ 240 mg/dL or use of lipid-lowering medications. Multivariable linear regression and logistic regression analyses were used to examine the association of height with mean total cholesterol level and odds ratios (ORs) of hypercholesterolemia. Results: Approximately 17% of participants had hypercholesterolemia. Mean total cholesterol levels decreased in the higher quartile (Q) groups of height after adjusting for confounding variables including age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity, income, educational level, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus (P for trend = 0.035). After adjusting for these potential confounding variables, the adjusted ORs of hypercholesterolemia were significantly lower in the Q3 and Q4 groups than in the Q1 group; ORs decreased in the higher quartile groups of height (OR: 0.83, 95% confidence interval: 0.71-0.99 in Q3; 0.81, 0.69-0.95 in Q4, P for trend = 0.007). The association between height (Q4 vs. Q1-Q3) and hypercholesterolemia was stronger in men or individuals without hypertension or diabetes than in women or individuals with such diseases. Conclusions: Height is inversely associated with total cholesterol level and odds of hypercholesterolemia among Korean adults. Childhood environment related to short stature may be associated with hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular health in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Article number198
JournalLipids in Health and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 15



  • Adults
  • Height
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Total cholesterol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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