Ethnic Differences in and Childhood Influences on Early Adult Pulse Wave Velocity
The Determinants of Adolescent, Now Young Adult, Social Wellbeing, and Health Longitudinal Study
Early determinants of aortic stiffness as pulse wave velocity are poorly understood. We tested how factors measured twice previously in childhood in a multiethnic cohort study, particularly body mass, blood pressure, and objectively assessed physical activity affected aortic stiffness in young adults. Of 6643 London children, aged 11 to 13 years, from 51 schools in samples stratified by 6 ethnic groups with different cardiovascular risk, 4785 (72%) were seen again at aged 14 to 16 years. In 2013, 666 (97% of invited) took part in a young adult (21–23 years) pilot follow-up. With psychosocial and anthropometric measures, aortic stiffness and blood pressure were recorded via an upper arm calibrated Arteriograph device. In a subsample (n=334), physical activity was measured >5 days via the ActivPal. Unadjusted pulse wave velocities in black Caribbean and white UK young men were similar (mean±SD 7.9±0.3 versus 7.6±0.4 m/s) and lower in other groups at similar systolic pressures (120 mm Hg) and body mass (24.6 kg/m2). In fully adjusted regression models, independent of pressure effects, black Caribbean (higher body mass/waists), black African, and Indian young women had lower stiffness (by 0.5–0.8; 95% confidence interval, 0.1–1.1 m/s) than did white British women (6.9±0.2 m/s). Values were separately increased by age, pressure, powerful impacts from waist/height, time spent sedentary, and a reported racism effect (+0.3 m/s). Time walking at >100 steps/min was associated with reduced stiffness (P<0.01). Effects of childhood waist/hip were detected. By young adulthood, increased waist/height ratios, lower physical activity, blood pressure, and psychosocial variables (eg, perceived racism) independently increase arterial stiffness, effects likely to increase with age.
- Received December 29, 2015.
- Revision received January 8, 2016.
- Accepted March 10, 2016.
- © 2016 The Authors.
Hypertension is published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wolters Kluwer. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited.