Canadian Health Measures Survey: Cholesterol bad, vitamin D good?

Leaving aside for the moment the cholesterol debate about what blood cholesterol actually represents, just-released data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey indicate that Canadians appear to have poor blood lipid profiles. Personally I look at circulating triglycerides more than cholesterol, as the cholesterol hypothesis is undergoing some revision at the moment… however we do know that blood TGs are definitely correlated with things like metabolic syndrome.

High levels of total cholesterol increase with age. About 27% of adults aged 20 to 39 had high levels of total cholesterol from 2007 to 2009. This percentage increased to 47% among those aged 40 to 59 and 54% of those aged 60 to 79. About 36% of adult Canadians had unhealthy levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, while 30% had unhealthy levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Unhealthy levels of LDL cholesterol generally increase with age, but peaked at 43% among adults aged 40 to 59. Overall, about 25% of Canadian adults had unhealthy levels of triglycerides. About 36% of Canadians aged 20 to 79 who did not have a healthy level of good cholesterol were obese, compared with 16% of those with a healthy level of good cholesterol. Unhealthy levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and bad cholesterol were generally associated with higher measured hypertension.

On the other hand, the CHMS argues that most Canadians are not vitamin D deficient. Again, a contentious suggestion given that we are all basically dressed like Nanook, living in the dark, for several months of the year. The survey found that the vast majority (90%) of Canadians aged 6 to 79 had concentrations of vitamin D in their blood that were considered adequate for bone health. I find this a bit puzzling, personally… unless everyone is somehow consuming tons of vitamin D-fortified milk…

Anyhoo, make of this what you will.