Prevalence of hyperlipidaemia in adults and its relation to the Mediterranean diet: the Hellenic National Nutrition and Health Survey (HNNHS)

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2019 Dec;26(18):1957-1967. doi: 10.1177/2047487319866023. Epub 2019 Jul 26.


Objectives: A long-term abnormal blood lipid profile increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). A probable protective role may be played by the Mediterranean diet. The aim of this study was to assess prevalence of dyslipidaemia, assess blood lipid status and treatment and examine the association between blood lipids, dyslipidaemia and Mediterranean diet.

Methods: Data were from the Hellenic National Nutrition and Health Survey (HNNHS). Data from 3775 adults (40.8% males) were obtained by trained personnel and disease status was categorized according to the International Classification of Diseases codes (10th version). Blood lipid measurements were obtained from a subsample (N = 1080, mean age 40.1 years; 37.8% male). The Mediterranean diet score (MedDiet score) was calculated from 24-h recalls. The relationships between higher MedDiet score (>23), lipid levels and status were examined using linearized multiple linear and logistic regressions, respectively.

Results: In total, 20.7% of the population was dyslipidaemic, with 59.0% (no sex differences) receiving treatment, and 46.6% of the treated having a normal lipid profile. Lipid status awareness was 35.5% (64.5% unaware). Males aged 19-39 had higher total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels than females (in mg/dl; p for all <0.05); these were significantly higher in overweight and obese individuals in all age groups, except high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p for all <0.001). Higher MedDiet score was associated with significantly lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the pooled sample (-6.39 mg/dl; 95% confidence interval (CI): -12.60, 0.17), in all males (-10.61 mg/dl; 95% CI: -19.89, -1.34) and in overweight and obese males (-15.6 mg/dl; 95% CI: -29.25, -1.94).

Conclusion: This study underlines the abnormal lipid profile in the young, mostly male, population who are highly unaware and under-treated.

Keywords: Hyperlipidaemia; Mediterranean diet; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Greece
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / diagnosis
  • Hyperlipidemias / epidemiology*
  • Hyperlipidemias / prevention & control
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Prevalence