Ethnic differences in anthropometric and lifestyle measures related to coronary heart disease risk between South Asian, Italian and general-population British women living in the west of Scotland

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Dec;25(12):1800-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0801823.


Aims: To compare anthropometric measurements and to define their behavioural associations in migrant and British-born South Asians (who have increased cardiovascular risk) or Italians (who have reduced cardiovascular risk), and in the general population of British women living in the west of Scotland.

Study design: Cross-sectional survey of women aged 20-42 y, selected mainly from birth registration data, which included 63 migrant South Asians, 56 British-born South Asians, 39 migrant Italians, 51 British-born Italians, and 50 subjects representative of the general population of women, all resident in the west of Scotland.

Measurements: Height, weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist and hip circumferences.

Results: With age adjustment, migrant South Asians (0.88) had greater waist-to-hip ratio than British-born South Asians (0.84; P<0.05), while there was no difference between migrant (0.81) and British-born (0.79) Italian groups. Both migrant (P<0.001) and British-born South Asian (P<0.05) groups had higher waist-to-hip ratio and were about 3 cm shorter than Italian groups and the general population. Neither weight nor BMI were different between ethnic groups. Waist and hip circumferences were not different between migrant and British-born ethnic minority groups. Migrant South Asians (86.8 cm) had significantly (P<0.05) larger waist circumference than the general population (78.6 cm). British-born Italian women (103.0 cm) had larger hip circumference than the general population of women (96.4 cm), while other groups had similar hip circumferences. Additional adjustments for physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and parity reduced the differences in anthropometric measurements: only waist-to-hip ratio of migrant South Asians remained significantly (P<0.01) higher than that of the general population women.

Conclusions: The adverse anthropometric indicators of cardiovascular risk in migrant South Asian women are substantially explained by their lifestyle factors and parity. British-born South Asian women are more similar to the general population women. Anthropometric differences between migrant or British-born Italians and the general population women are small.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Anthropometry
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Body Constitution / ethnology
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Coronary Disease / ethnology*
  • Coronary Disease / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • England / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / ethnology
  • Life Style / ethnology*
  • Parity
  • Risk Factors
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Smoking