Ethnicity and arterial stiffness in children and adolescents from a Brazilian population

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Increased stiffness of large arteries is an important determinant of cardiovascular disease risk. Higher values of arterial stiffness measured by carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV) have been measured in adult African-Americans compared with whites. Studies assessing ethnic differences in cf-PWV among children and adolescents are scarce. This study sought to evaluate the association between ethnicity and cf-PWV in Brazilian children and adolescents.


Seven hundred and seventy-one children and adolescents (211 blacks and 560 nonblacks, 11.3 ± 2.7 years) were included. Arterial stiffness was evaluated by cf-PWV. The ethnic classification was obtained by a single interviewer according to general phenotypes such as skin color, hair shape and facial traces.


Blood pressure was similar in blacks and nonblacks across all pubertal stages. Differently, cf-PWV was higher in blacks than nonblacks pubescent (5.9 ± 0.7 vs. 5.6 ± 0.8 m/s, P = 0.001) and postpubescent (6.1 ± 0.7 vs. 5.7 ± 0.7 m/s, P = 0.042), whereas no difference was detected between blacks and nonblacks prepubescent. These analyses were adjusted for sex, age, height, BMI, SBP and heart rate.


Our study showed that higher cf-PWV values in blacks appear in adolescence and are independent of blood pressure values. Therefore, our data suggest adolescence as the key phase for the appearance of the vascular profile found in adults black individuals.

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