Ethnic Differences in Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Between UK Children of Black African-Caribbean and White European Origin
Background and Purpose—UK black African-Caribbean adults have higher risks of stroke than white Europeans and have been shown to have increased carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT). We examined whether corresponding ethnic differences in cIMT were apparent in childhood and, if so, whether these could be explained by ethnic differences in cardiovascular risk markers.
Methods—We conducted a 2-stage survey of 939 children (208 white European, 240 black African-Caribbean, 258 South Asian, 63 other Asian, 170 other ethnicity), who had a cardiovascular risk assessment and measurements of cIMT at mean ages of 9.8 and 10.8 years, respectively.
Results—Black African-Caribbean children had a higher cIMT than white Europeans (mean difference, 0.014 mm; 95% CI, 0.008–0.021 mm; P<0.0001). cIMT levels in South Asian and other Asian children were however similar to those of white Europeans. Among all children, cIMT was positively associated with age, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and inversely with combined skinfold thickness and serum triglyceride. Mean triglyceride was lower among black African-Caribbeans than white Europeans; blood pressure and skinfold thickness did not differ appreciably. However, adjustment for these risk factors had little effect on the cIMT difference between black African-Caribbeans and white Europeans.
Conclusions—UK black African-Caribbean children have higher cIMT levels in childhood; the difference is not explained by conventional cardiovascular risk markers. There may be important opportunities for early cardiovascular prevention, particularly in black African-Caribbean children.
- Received November 15, 2011.
- Revision received February 15, 2012.
- Accepted March 14, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.