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James H. Rimmer, Dave Braddock and Glenn Fujiura

Little data exist on the comparison of blood lipids and percent body fat between Down Syndrome and non-DS adults with mental retardation (MR). The following study was undertaken to determine if there were physiological and biochemical differences between these two groups. Subjects included 294 non-DS adults with MR (162 males and 132 females) and 31 adults with Down Syndrome (21 males and 10 females). Level of mental retardation was similar for both groups (males/females, Down vs. non-DS). A two-factor ANOVA with a regression approach was used to analyze the data. Results of the study found that there were no significant differences between the Down Syndrome and non-DS subjects on total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, or percent body fat. The present study suggests that the composition of lipoproteins and storage of body fat are similar in Down Syndrome and non-DS adults with mental retardation, and that the risk for developing coronary heart disease appears to be the same for both groups.

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James H. Rimmer, David Braddock and Glenn Fujiura

A body mass index (BMI) greater than 27 has been cited as a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes mellitus resulting from excess weight. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between BMI (>27) and two other obesity indices–height-weight and percent body fat–as well as to investigate the relationship between BMI and three blood lipid parameters–total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) in 329 adults with mental retardation (MR). Males were significantly taller and heavier than females, but females had a significantly higher BMI. Kendall’s Tau-C revealed a significant association between BMI and each of the following: height-weight, percent body fat, LDL-C, and HDL-C. However, there were a significant number of false negatives and false positives on each of the criteria. The congruence between at-risk BMI and two other obesity parameters (height-weight and percent body fat) in a population of adults with MR is not strong. Professionals should employ the BMI along with skinfold measures to assess a person’s at-risk status for excess weight.