Ethnicity and cardiovascular risk factors: evaluation of 40,921 normal-weight, overweight or obese children and adolescents living in Central Europe

L Martin, J Oepen, T Reinehr, M Wabitsch, G Claussnitzer, E Waldeck, S Ingrisch, R Stachow, M Oelert, S Wiegand, R Holl
International Journal of Obesity 2015, 39 (1): 45-51

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major global health problem and the leading cause of death in Europe. Risk factors such as obesity and hypertension that accelerate the development of CVD begin in childhood. Ethnicity is a known risk factor for CVD in adults. The aim of this study is to explore differences in the prevalence of hypertension and dyslipidemia among overweight/obese and normal-weight children/adolescents of three different ethnic origins living in Central Europe.

METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Prevalence of hypertension and dyslipidemia was calculated among obese/overweight children/adolescents (n = 25,986; mean age 12.7 ± 3.0 years; range: 0-18 years; 46% males) documented in the German-Austrian-Swiss APV (Prospective Documentation of Overweight Children and Adolescents) registry and among normal-weight subjects (n = 14,935; mean age: 8.8 ± 5.1 years; range 0-18 years; 51% males) from the population-based cross-sectional German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS) study. In both cohorts, subjects were categorized into three ethnic groups (Central European: Germany, Austria, Switzerland; Southeastern European: Turkish; Southern European: Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta) based on the country of birth of both parents. Regression models were used to examine ethnic differences after adjustment for age and gender and body mass index (BMI) category.

RESULTS: Age-, gender- and BMI category-adjusted prevalence of hypertension were 38% and 39% for the ethnic minority groups, compared with 35% among German/Austrian/Swiss counterparts. Turkish ethnicity was significantly associated with hypertension (odds ratio (OR) 1.14; 95% confidence interval: 1.02-1.27; P = 0.0446). No significant ethnic differences were found in lipid levels. Prevalence of hypertension found among normal-weight subjects (Central European vs Southeastern vs Southern European: 6.8% vs 6.3% vs 7.2%) did not differ significantly.

CONCLUSIONS: Turkish obese/overweight children/adolescents showed a significantly higher prevalence of hypertension relative to their peers of Central European descent. No significant ethnic difference in the prevalence of hypertension was found among normal-weight children/adolescents. The high prevalence of hypertension among Turkish obese/overweight children/adolescents indicates the need for greater preventive and therapeutic efforts to reduce cardiovascular risk factors among vulnerable populations.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"