Bogalusa Heart Study: a long-term community study of a rural biracial (black/white) population

Am J Med Sci. 2001 Nov;322(5):267-74.


The Bogalusa Heart Study, a long-term population study with a continued relationship with a community, addresses the problem of capacity building in minority health research. The study was originally funded as a Specialized Center of Research-Arteriosclerosis (SCOR-A) by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). These centers were to conduct research on atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease (CAD), hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and complications of cardiovascular-renal disease as the major causes of deaths in the United States. From earlier research on atherosclerosis, we became interested in the underlying characteristics in early life that would eventually lead to clinical morbidity and mortality from heart disease. An observation at autopsy showed the degree of atherosclerotic involvement in human aortas, from young to older individuals (Figure 1). For example, at age 40 years, marked individual variability occurred in the severity and involvement with atherosclerotic disease. Some individuals showed very little disease, while almost 70% of the surface was diseased in others. Further studies on arterial wall matrix showed aortas from young individuals varied with the extent of disease and its chemical composition. This background stimulated an interest in studying children for early clinical evidence of major adult heart diseases. The Bogalusa Heart Study was begun in 1972 as an epidemiology study of cardiovascular risk factors in children and adolescents; it eventually evolved into observations of young adults. Bogalusa, LA, is a biracial (black/white) rural community 70 miles north of New Orleans, comparable to many other communities in southeastern United States.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipids / blood
  • Louisiana
  • Male
  • Obesity
  • Rural Population*


  • Lipids