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Early evidence of ethnic differences in cardiovascular risk: cross sectional comparison of British South Asian and white children

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Sir George Sir George Alberti


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Objectives To examine whether British South Asian children differ in insulin resistance, adiposity, and cardiovascular risk profile from white children. Design Cross sectional study. Setting Primary schools in 10 British towns. Participants British children aged 8 to 11 years (227 South Asian and 3415 white); 73 South Asian and 1287 were children aged 10 and 11 years provided blood samples (half fasting, half after glucose load). Main outcome measures Insulin concentrations, anthropometric measures, established cardiovascular risk factors. Results Mean ponderal index was lower in South Asian children than in white children (mean difference - 0.43 kg/m(3), 95% confidence interval - 0.13 kg/m(3) to - 0.73 kg/m(3)). Mean waist circumferences and waist:hip ratios were similar. Mean insulin concentrations were higher in South Asian children (percentage difference was 53%, 14% to 106%, after fasting and 54%, 19% to 99%, after glucose load), though glucose concentrations were similar. Mean heart rate and triglyceride and fibrinogen concentrations were higher among South Asian children; serum total, low density lipoprotein, and high density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations were similar in the two groups. Differences in insulin concentrations remained after adjustment for adiposity and other potential confounders. However, the relations between adiposity and insulin concentrations (particularly fasting insulin) were much stronger among South Asian children than among white children. Conclusions The tendency to insulin resistance observed in British South Asian adults is apparent in children, in whom it may reflect an increased sensitivity to adiposity. Action to prevent non-insulin dependent diabetes in South Asian adults may need to begin during childhood.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Whincup PH, Gilg JA, Papacosta O, Seymour C, Miller GJ, Alberti KGMM, Cook DG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Medical Journal

Year: 2002

Volume: 324

Issue: 7338

Pages: 635-638B

ISSN (print): 0007-1447

ISSN (electronic): 1756-1833

Publisher: BMJ Group


DOI: 10.1136/bmj.324.7338.635


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