Similarity of Blood Pressure in Blacks, Whites and Asians in England: The Birmingham Factory Study


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Abstract

Factory workers aged 16-64 years were screened for ethnic differences in blood pressure. The 78% response rate was evenly spread between whites (439 men; 164 women), black West Indians (173 men; 101 women) and Asians (172 men). Mean systolic and diastolic pressures by age decade in men were similar in all three groups, but there was a modest excess of both higher and lower blood pressures in blacks and Asians. Older black women had higher blood pressures than whites, but body mass indices were 2-5 kg/m2 greater. Multiple regression analysis revealed no significant effect of ethnic group on either systolic or diastolic blood pressure variance and that the higher pressures in black women were accounted for by differences in age and body mass index. The influence of body mass index was more marked on diastolic than systolic pressure. In men, alcohol intake and a family history of hypertension had small independent positive effects on systolic pressure. The lack of black/white difference in blood pressure differs from the United States results and may be due to the similarity in social class of participants. This should be confirmed in further population samples with larger numbers of black (and Asian) subjects.

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