Background: The association between dyslipidaemia, obesity and hypertension is well established, and all have been found to be risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Aim: To determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity, plasma lipid profile and atherogenic indices as markers for CVD among civil servants.
Subjects and methods: Two hundred and five (205) apparently healthy civil servants (106, 51.7% males) aged 21-60 years, mean and standard deviation (SD) 40.9 (11.3) years, enrolled between February and April 2008 were assessed for their plasma lipid profile and anthropometrics (body weight and height) using standard methods and techniques.
Results: Prevalent rates of overweight and obesity were 34.2% (70/205) and 6.8% (14/205), respectively, with more men affected than women. Abnormal lipids observed were: Elevated total cholesterol 37.1% (76/205), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) 37.1% (76/205), triglyceride 6.8% (14/205), reduced high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) 8.8% (18/205) and elevated Atherogenic Index 10.7% (22/205) and Coronary Risk Index 9.8% (20/205), with the older age groups and higher Body Mass Index (BMI) groups being the most affected. Male subjects were found to have more favorable plasma lipid profile (lower LDL-C and higher HDL-C) than the females. Plasma lipids were positively correlated with BMI and artherogenic indices, except for HDL-C, which was negatively correlated with artherogenic indices and LDL-C but positively correlated with BMI.
Conclusion: The findings show that civil servants in Abakaliki, particularly the females, those with higher BMI and advanced in age, exhibited unfavorable plasma lipids and social habits with a low level of physical activity, which may predispose them to CVD. In addition to epidemiological study of the general population, there is a need for education on healthier lifestyles such as good nutrition, weight reduction, smoking and alcohol cessation, greater physical activity and regular medical check-up.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Dyslipidaemia; Obesity; Overweight.