UK Indian adults have higher risks of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes than Indian and UK European adults. With growing evidence that these diseases originate in early life, we compared cardiometabolic risk markers in Indian, UK Indian and white European children.
Comparisons were based on the Mysore Parthenon Birth Cohort Study (MPBCS), India and the Child Heart Health Study in England (CHASE), which studied 9–10 year-old children (538 Indian, 483 UK Indian, 1375 white European) using similar methods. Analyses adjusted for study differences in age and sex.
Compared with Mysore Indians, UK Indians had markedly higher BMI (% difference 21%, 95%CI 18 to 24%), skinfold thickness (% difference 34%, 95%CI 26 to 42%), LDL-cholesterol (mean difference 0.48, 95%CI 0.38 to 0.57 mmol/L), systolic BP (mean difference 10.3, 95% CI 8.9 to 11.8 mmHg) and fasting insulin (% difference 145%, 95%CI 124 to 168%). These differences (similar in both sexes and little affected by adiposity adjustment) were larger than those between UK Indians and white Europeans. Compared with white Europeans, UK Indians had higher skinfold thickness (% difference 6.0%, 95%CI 1.5 to 10.7%), fasting insulin (% difference 31%, 95%CI 22 to 40%), triglyceride (% difference 13%, 95%CI 8 to 18%) and LDL-cholesterol (mean difference 0.12 mmol/L, 95%CI 0.04 to 0.19 mmol/L).
UK Indian children have an adverse cardiometabolic risk profile, especially compared to Indian children. These differences, not simply reflecting greater adiposity, emphasize the need for prevention strategies starting in childhood or earlier.