Serum cholesterol values are markedly lower in Korea than in Belgium in both males and females. This is attributed to the much lower consumption of saturated fat in Korea. A mean population serum cholesterol value of about 160 mg/dl appears to be compatible with excellent general health and with the absence of ischemic heart disease or other atheromatous diseases. The influence of age, height and weight on cholesterol between Belgium and Korea is qualitatively similar but quantitatively different. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol values are lower in Korea than in Belgium, particularly in females. Differences in the HDL cholesterol level thus cannot explain the low prevalence of ischemic heart disease in Korea.