Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Ji Shen


Hyperlipidemia caused by a diet high in saturated fat can lead to visceral fat weight gain, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Being over-weight from visceral fat has been linked to increased risk of developing most age-related diseases and disability, along with a lower income potential and quality of life. However, researchers are just beginning to understand the biological mechanisms that regulate the conversion of excess calories into visceral fat storage rather than glycogen or muscle. Epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown a comorbid association between age-related diseases involving hyperlipemia and circulating levels of uric acid, but not a direct association. This study utilized archival data from 31 healthy, middle-aged adults, who participated in a randomized, double-blind, crossover clinical trial on blood markers of lipidemia and inflammation following a high saturated fat (HSF) verses a "healthy" polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) meal. This primary study was conducted and funded by the National Institute on Aging. A secondary analysis of this data using Pearson's correlation with least squares (2-tailed) regression modeling found that when stratified by gender, baseline uric acid level was an independent and significant predictor of the lipemic response from the HSF, but not the PUFA meal. The linear regression plots indicated that males with uric acid levels above 4.5, and females above 3.0 mg/dL, had a progressively increased lipemic response to the HSF meal. The public health utility of this finding may include the clinical use of the gender-specific linear regression plots of uric acid values to identify and advise individuals at risk for hyperlipidemia from a diet high in saturated fats.