Ethnic differences in risk factors and total risk of cardiovascular disease based on the Norwegian CONOR study

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2013 Dec;20(6):1013-21. doi: 10.1177/2047487312450539. Epub 2012 May 29.


Background: Risk of cardiovascular disease varies between ethnic groups and the aim of this study was to investigate differences in cardiovascular risk factors, and total cardiovascular risk between ethnic groups in Norway.

Design: Cross-sectional study using data from the Cohort of Norway (CONOR).

Methods: A sample of 62,145 participants, 40-65 years of age, originating from 11 geographical regions, were included in our study. Self-reported variables, blood samples and physical measurements were used to estimate age- and time-adjusted mean values of cardiovascular risk factors for different ethnic groups. The 10-year risks of cardiovascular mortality and cardiovascular events were calculated using the Framingham and NORRISK risk models.

Results: We observed differences between ethnic groups for cardiovascular risk factors and both Framingham and NORRISK risk scores. NORRISK showed significant differences by ethnicity in women only. Immigrants from the Indian subcontinent had the lowest high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, the highest levels of blood glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol/HDL ratio, waist hip ratio and diabetes prevalence. Immigrants from the former Yugoslavia had the highest Framingham scores, high blood pressure, high total cholesterol/HDL ratio, overweight measures and smoking. Low cardiovascular risk was observed among East Asian immigrants.

Conclusion: The previously reported excess cardiovascular risk among immigrants from the Indian subcontinent was supported in this study. We also showed that immigrants from the former Yugoslavian countries had a higher total 10-year risk of cardiovascular events than other ethnic groups. This study adds information about ethnic groups in Norway which needs to be addressed in further research and targeted prevention strategies.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Cohort of Norway; blood glucose; blood pressure; ethnic groups; lipids; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / ethnology
  • Dyslipidemias / ethnology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Ethnic Groups*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / ethnology
  • India / ethnology
  • Life Style / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Yugoslavia / ethnology