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Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Jan;17(1):e1-6.

Cardiovascular risk factors, diet and lifestyle among European, South Asian and Chinese adolescents in Canada.

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Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre and Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael's Hospital; ; Department of Nutritional Sciences and Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto; ; Department of Medicine, St Michael's Hospital;



The authors previously reported that adult South Asian immigrants to Canada have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to their European and Chinese counterparts. It is unknown whether these ethnic differences also exist among adolescents, and whether they are related to diet and lifestyle. The objective of the present study was to assess the prevalence of CVD risk factors among apparently healthy adolescents in the three largest ethnic population groups in Canada (European, South Asian and Chinese).


A cross-sectional study among secondary school students in the Greater Toronto Area was undertaken. A total of 203 adolescents from 62 GTA secondary schools were recruited (48% Europeans, 35% Chinese and 18% South Asians) with a mean age of 17.3±1 years; 72% were female.


Similar to adults, South Asian adolescents have increased rates of CVD risk factors compared with their European and Chinese peers, including higher prevalence of low high-density lipoprotein levels (P=0.001), high triglycerides (P=0.006) and high triglyceride/high-density lipoprotein levels (P<0.001), despite no significant differences in dietary intake among the ethnic groups. European adolescents had higher rates of self-reported intensity of physical activity (P=0.002) than their Chinese or South Asian peers.


Similar to adult data, South Asian adolescents have comparably higher rates of CVD risk factors compared with their European or Chinese peers, which could partly be attributed to lower physical activity in South Asian adolescents. Whether the findings in these selected samples of healthy adolescents can be generalized to their respective populations requires further validation.


Adolescents; Cardiovascular disease; Ethnicity; Risk factors


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