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The association of religious affiliation with cholesterol levels among South Asians: the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America study.



South Asians have disproportionately high rates of cardiovascular disease. Dyslipidemia, a contributing factor, may be influenced by lifestyle, which can vary by religious beliefs. Little is known about South Asian religions and associations with dyslipidemia.


Cross-sectional analyses of the MASALA study (n = 889). We examined the associations between religious affiliation and cholesterol levels using multivariate linear regression models. We determined whether smoking, alcohol use, physical activity, and dietary pattern mediated these associations.


Mean LDL was 112 ± 32 mg/dL, median HDL was 48 mg/dL (IQR:40-57), and median triglycerides was 118 mg/dL (IQR:88-157). Muslims had higher LDL and triglycerides, and lower HDL, while participants with no religious affiliation had lower LDL and higher HDL. The difference in HDL between Muslims and those with no religious affiliation was partly explained by alcohol consumption.


Religion-specific tailoring of interventions designed to promote healthy lifestyle to reduce cholesterol among South Asians may be useful.

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