Blood Lipid Levels are Related to Physical Activity Levels for African American Women and Children

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Source

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise


Coronary artery disease (CAD) results from the buildup of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) in atherosclerotic plaques on arterial walls, and is highly correlated with obesity. African American women are at high-risk for developing CAD, and approximately 50% of African American women are overweight after age 20 and have elevated blood cholesterol levels. Exercise increases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and is thought to decrease LDL, but African American women exercise less than their Caucasian counterparts.

PURPOSE: This descriptive study was conducted to determine the prevalence of obesity, level of physical activity (PA), and blood lipid levels for inner-city African American mothers (ages 21-50 years) and their daughters (ages 5-17 years) (n = 44 and 66, respectively).

METHODS: Apparently healthy, inner-city African American women and daughters (ages 5-17 yr) volunteered and gave informed consent to participate. Technicians assisted as subjects reported 24-hr food recalls and completed physical activity questionnaires. Data were blocked by the body mass index (BMI) for normal weight (BMI < 25), overweight (BMI 25-29.99), and obesity (BMI > 30) and ANOVAs run to determine differences in blood lipids and PA between the groups. Correlations were run between variables.

RESULTS: LDL decreased as PA increased for all groups except obese daughters, but only reached significance for normal weight and overweight daughters (p < 0.001). There was not a consistent relationship between HDL and PA.

CONCLUSION: Results suggest that PA may correlate with LDL in African American women and girls. Additional studies are needed that implement a controlled exercise intervention program to accurately assess these effects. Supported by The Ohio Board of Regents and the Graduate School and the Department of Health and Sport Science, University of Dayton.

Inclusive pages





Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise is the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.


American College of Sports Medicine





Peer Reviewed


Link to published version