The lipids and lipoproteins — cholesterol (C), triglyceride (TG) and high-density, low-density, very-low-density and sinking pre-β-lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, LDL-C, VLDL-C and SPB-C) — in plasma samples from 1620 fasting white adults and children from the Toronto—Hamilton area were analysed. The mean concentration of HDL-C was about 45 mg/dl in men and about 60 mg/dl in women, and the levels were constant throughout adult life in both sexes. Boys had higher mean HDL-C levels than men, but girls had lower mean HDL-C levels than women. Mean LDL-C levels, like total C levels, increased with age, from about 87 mg/dl in boys to 136 mg/dl in men, and from about 91 mg/dl in girls to 145 mg/dl in women. The mean levels of VLDL-C followed the TG patterns for age and sex, rising from about 7 mg/dl in boys to 26 mg/dl in men, and from about 11 mg/dl in girls to 19 mg/dl in women. SPB-C was detectable visually in 39% of the population and with the aid of densitometry in 54%; the levels were not related to age, sex or oral contraceptive use, and the median level was 3 mg/dl.
Prevalence estimates of hyperlipoproteinemia showed that type IV was the most common, and it was found more than three times as often in men as in women. This was in part due to the customary use of plasma TG cut-off points that do not reflect the large difference in TG levels between males and females. Type IIA hyperlipoproteinemia was found in about 2% of the adults and type IIb in a further 1%. Types I, III and V were all rare. The prevalence of types II and IV hyperlipoproteinemia was four times greater in women using oral contraceptives than in nonusers in the same age range.