The mortality from coronary artery disease (CAD) in Indians is more than three times that in the Chinese and Malays of Singapore. Serum total and HDL cholesterol as well as apolipoprotein (Apo) AI, AII and B levels were determined in a group of 349 newborns (cord blood) from both sexes in these three ethnic groups in order to examine if a trend is reflected at birth. Both serum LDL cholesterol and Apo B levels were low in the newborn, while HDL cholesterol and Apo AII levels were almost the same as in adults. Serum Apo AI levels were also low in newborns. No consistent difference as to ethnic group or sex was observed in any of the parameters investigated, except that the females had significantly higher levels of serum Apo AI in all the ethnic groups. Serum total and HDL cholesterol levels in Singapore newborns were comparable to those reported in Caucasians and Asians. The trends of incidence of CAD were not reflected in the lipid profiles studied at birth.
We studied the effects of saturated (palm olein) and polyunsaturated (soybean oil) cooking oils on the lipid profiles of Malaysian male adolescents eating normal Malaysian diets for 5 wk. Diets cooked with palm olein did not significantly alter plasma total-cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol concentrations or the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol compared with diets cooked with soybean oil. However, the diet cooked with palm olein significantly increased apolipoprotein A-I (11%) and apolipoprotein B (9%) concentrations. Unexpectedly, soybean-oil-cooked diets caused a significant increase (47%) in plasma triglycerides compared with palm-olein-cooked diets. We conclude that palm olein, when used as cooking oil, has no detrimental effects on plasma lipid profiles in Malaysian adolescents.