Obesity, smoking, and multiple cardiovascular risk factors in young adult African Americans

Ethn Dis. Summer 2002;12(3):331-5.


Objectives: To examine the associations between the combination of obesity and tobacco use and total cardiovascular risk score in young adult African Americans.

Design: A cross-sectional study of 323 African-American men (N = 117) and women (N = 206) aged 20-46 years.

Methods: Age, height, weight, and data on smoking behavior were obtained, as well as measurements of blood pressure, serum lipids, and measurements from an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). A cardiovascular risk score was calculated from the above data.

Results: Fasting insulin, fasting blood glucose, and blood glucose at 120 minutes of OGTT were significantly higher in obese (body mass index [BMI] > or = 30 kg/m2) men. Obese men also had significantly higher LDL cholesterol, lower HDL cholesterol and higher total risk scores. Obese women had significantly higher blood pressure, higher fasting insulin, lower LDL cholesterol, and higher total risk scores. Among the members of this cohort, 65% of men and 79% of women were obese and/or smoked. Of those who were obese and/or smoked, 68% of the men and 82% of the women had at least one other cardiovascular risk factor.

Conclusions: The modifiable risk factors of obesity and smoking were present in a large majority of these young adult African Americans in association with other cardiovascular risk factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol / classification
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol