Background: Not much is known about the ethnic differences in cardiovascular risk factors during childhood in European countries. We examined the ethnic differences in childhood cardiovascular risk factors in the Netherlands. Methods: In a multi-ethnic population-based prospective cohort study, we measured blood pressure, left ventricular mass, and levels of cholesterol, triglyceride and insulin at the median age of 6.2. years. Results: As compared to Dutch children, Cape Verdean and Turkish children had a higher blood pressure, whereas Cape Verdean, Surinamese-Creole and Turkish children had higher total-cholesterol levels (p-values. <. 0.05). Turkish children had higher triglyceride levels, but lower insulin levels than Dutch children (p-values. <. 0.05). As compared to Dutch children, only Turkish children had an increased risk of clustering of cardiovascular risk factors (odds ratio: 2.45 (95% confidence interval 1.18, 3.37)). Parental pre-pregnancy factors explained up to 50% of the ethnic differences in childhood risk factors. In addition to these factors, pregnancy and childhood factors and childhood BMI explained up to 50%, 12.5% and 61.1%, respectively. Conclusions: Our results suggest that compared to Dutch children, Cape Verdean, Surinamese-Creole and Turkish children have an adverse cardiovascular profile. These differences are largely explained by parental pre-pregnancy factors, pregnancy factors and childhood BMI.

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Keywords Ethnicity, Hypertension, Insulin, Lipids, Pediatrics
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Journal Preventive Medicine
Grant This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/289346 - Long-term effects of early nutrition on later health (EarlyNutrition)
Gishti, O, Gaillard, R, Felix, J.F, Bouthoorn, S.H, Steegers, E.A.P, Raat, H, … Jaddoe, V.W.V. (2015). Early origins of ethnic disparities in cardiovascular risk factors. Preventive Medicine, 76, 84–91. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.03.027