Risk factors for cardiovascular disease in Canadians of South Asian and European origin: a pilot study of the Study of Heart Assessment and Risk in Ethnic Groups (SHARE)

Clin Invest Med. 1997 Aug;20(4):204-10.


Objective: To test the feasibility of recruitment strategies and a 2-hour cardiovascular (CV) health assessment (including laboratory tests and questionnaires) in preparation for a national, population-based study to determine CV risk factors among Canadians of different ethnic origins.

Design: Cross-sectional study of people of South Asian and European origin from Hamilton, Ont., identified by community-based stratified random sampling.

Setting: University-affiliated research clinic in Hamilton, Ont.

Participants: Thirty-one Canadians of South Asian origin and 20 Canadians of European origin 35 to 75 years of age.

Interventions: Subjects attended a clinic at which they completed a health questionnaire, provided fasting and postprandial blood samples, and underwent B-mode carotid ultrasonographic examination as well as anthropometric, nutritional and psychosocial assessments.

Results: The participants of South Asian origin had lived in Canada for 18 years, on average, compared with 48 years for those of European origin. More participants of South Asian origin were married than those of European origin, and fewer smoked or consumed alcohol. Participants of South Asian origin were more likely to have some university education. The prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance was 34.5% in the participants of South Asian origin and 9.5% in those of European origin (p < 0.04). The total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein ratio was elevated in the participants of South Asian origin (5.1), compared with those of European origin (4.2) (p < 0.05), as was the lipoprotein (a) concentration (log transformed) (5.5 v. 4.6 mg/dL, p < 0.02).

Conclusions: This pilot study revealed intriguing lifestyle and metabolic differences between participants of South Asian and European origin. Those of South Asian origin had a higher prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance, dyslipidemia and elevated lipoprotein (a) concentrations-factors thought to be associated with premature CVD in this group.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Asia / ethnology
  • Canada
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Diet
  • Europe / ethnology
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Lipoprotein(a) / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Lipoprotein(a)
  • Cholesterol