Lipoprotein (a) levels in children and young adults: the influence of physical activity. The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study

Acta Paediatr. 1994 Dec;83(12):1258-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1994.tb13009.x.


A high lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) level is an independent and predominantly genetically determined risk factor for coronary heart disease and other vascular diseases. We studied the levels of Lp(a) and the influence of physical activity on Lp(a) in the young Finnish population. The study cohort comprised children and young adults aged 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 and 24 years (n = 2464) participating in a large multicenter follow-up study of cardiovascular risk factors in children and young adults. Data were available on physical activity, anthropometric variables, serum Lp(a), insulin and lipid levels. A physical activity index was calculated based on several physical activity variables. Lp(a) was determined by radioimmunoassay with a detection threshold of 3 mg/dl. Differences were assessed with non-parametric statistical analyses. The observed range of Lp(a) was from < 3 to 90.8 mg/dl. The distribution of Lp(a) was highly skewed as 88% of the population (89% males and 87% females) had Lp(a) concentrations less than 25 mg/dl. A total of 35% of the subjects had Lp(a) levels less than 3 mg/dl. There were no significant differences in Lp(a) levels with respect to age or gender. The serum concentration of Lp(a) was statistically significantly correlated with the level of physical activity. Other behavioral variables studied did not have a significant contribution to the variability of Lp(a) levels. These results demonstrate that levels of Lp(a) are not related to age, gender or many of the known coronary heart disease risk factors. However, physical activity is associated with favorable Lp(a) levels, as high levels of Lp(a) (> 25 mg/dl) were less frequent in the physically most active subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipids / blood
  • Lipoprotein(a) / blood*
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors


  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Lipoprotein(a)