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Nutritional assessment, health markers and lipoprotein profile in postmenopausal women belonging to a closed community


Objective: To assess the dietary characteristics of a closed community and their relationship with several health markers and lipid and lipoprotein values in postmenopausal women.

Design: Energy and nutrient intake, serum lipids, lipoproteins, antioxidants, peroxides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) peroxides in addition to several health markers were measured in a closed, postmenopausal female community consuming a diet without meat, meat products and alcoholic beverages.

Setting: Departamento de Nutrición and Sección Departamental de Química Analítica and Escuela de Especialización de Análisis Clínicos, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain and Lerma, Burgos, Spain.

Results: Cereals, vegetables, legumes and fruit, together with milk and eggs, constituted the most important ingredients of the diet consumed. Dietary carbohydrates contributed 42%en and lipids 46.4%en. The SFA/MUFA/PUFA ratio was 1/2/1 and the n-3/n-6 ratio 0.05 (SFA=saturated fatty acids, MUFA=monounsaturated fatty acids, PUFA=polyunsaturated fatty acids). The study community diet was monotonous and made for possible deficiencies of iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6 and vitamin D, in variable proportions. Routine biochemical and haematological normality markers indicate that only one woman presented hyperglycaemia and hyperuricaemia. Two women had haemoglobin levels <12 g/dl, but their mean corpuscular volume or mean corpuscular haemoglobin was normal. The prevalence of high cholesterol values (>6.21 mmol/l) was 42.8%, while that of high LDL-cholesterol levels (>3.88 mmol/l) was 35.7%, but none of the women displayed levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol <1.16 mmol/l, triglycerides >1.2 mmol/l or an LDL-cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol ratio>3. Only one woman had apolipoprotein (Apo) B levels >1.5 g/l, while most of the women presented Apo B values <1.2 g/l and an ApoA-1/ApoB ratio <1.1. Plasma and LDL-peroxide levels, together with the tocopherol and carotene intakes, suggest a good antioxidant status in this population.

Conclusions: The diet of the study group seems compatible with a healthy life-profile and permits a more-than-acceptable degree of cardiovascular disease protection. However, the consumption of certain nutrients should be improved.

Sponsorship: This study was supported by a Danone-Universidad Complutense de Madrid grant. Project PR248/01-10161.

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We acknowledge the participation of the Carmelitas Descalzas nuns of Lerma, Spain.

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Guarantor: FJ Sáncher-Muniz.

Contributors: All authors have significantly contributed to the paper and agree with the present version of the manuscript. FJ S-M is the corresponding author and Guarantor of the paper and has contributed to the lipoprotein determinations. AC, SB and TR have contributed to the diet assessment and calculations. SRMTM and RR have performed the haematological, Iipoprotein and health marker determinations. The work has been performed according to the ethical bases of the Helsinki Declaration.

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Correspondence to F J Sánchez-Muniz.

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Sánchez-Muniz, F., Carbajal, Á., Ródenas, S. et al. Nutritional assessment, health markers and lipoprotein profile in postmenopausal women belonging to a closed community. Eur J Clin Nutr 57 (Suppl 1), S26–S30 (2003).

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