Lipid, lipoprotein and apolipoprotein profiles in European adolescents and its associations with gender, biological maturity and body fat--the HELENA Study

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jun;66(6):727-35. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.222. Epub 2012 Jan 18.


Background/objectives: To provide a detailed lipid profile of a European adolescent population considering age, gender, biological maturity, body mass index (BMI), fat mass (FM) and percentage body fat (BF).

Subjects/methods: Within Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA), a cross-sectional study was conducted to determine fasting serum concentrations of lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins in 1076 adolescents aged 12.5-17.49 years from ten European centres.

Results: All serum lipid concentrations were significantly higher in girls than in boys. In boys, age was negatively correlated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and total cholesterol (TC), and positively associated with triacylglycerides (TAG) (P < 0.01) whereas no significant associations were observed in girls. Biological maturity was negatively associated with TC, HDL-, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)- and non-HDL cholesterol in boys (all P<0.05) and negatively correlated with HDL-cholesterol in girls (P<0.05). BMI, FM and BF were significantly correlated with HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein (apo) A1, apoB and TAG in both boys and girls.

Conclusions: The lipid profile in adolescents is strongly determined by gender. Biological maturity, FM and percentage BF contribute to the variance in lipid concentrations and should be considered in future evaluations of lipid status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Apolipoproteins / blood*
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Child
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Apolipoproteins
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol