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Am J Public Health. 1994 Nov;84(11):1761-7.

Mother-daughter correlations of obesity and cardiovascular disease risk factors in black and white households: the NHLBI Growth and Health Study.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.



This study sought to evaluate obesity as a potential explanatory factor for the increased relative risk for cardiovascular disease in Black compared with White women.


Familial associations for obesity and cardiovascular disease risk factors were assessed in 720 White and 580 Black mother-daughter pairs from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Growth and Health Study by using Pearson's chi square, Spearman's correlations, and partial correlations.


Black girls and mothers were significantly heavier and had higher body mass indices than their White counterparts. In each racial group, significant, positive mother-daughter correlations existed for weight, body mass index, and triceps skinfolds, and for all cardiovascular disease risk factors. Obesity measures correlated positively with systolic blood pressure and triglycerides and inversely with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in girls and mothers of both races. Correlations between mothers and daughters for exercise and ideal body shape were weak and did not explain obesity associations.


Intrafamilial associations of obesity, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and the obesity-cardiovascular disease risk factor relationship support the position that increased cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality rates in Black women may be linked to excess obesity in Black women compared with White ones.

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