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1.  DIETARY ENERGY INTAKE IS ASSOCIATED WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES RISK MARKERS IN CHILDREN 
Diabetes care  2013;37(1):116-123.
Objective
Energy intake, energy density and nutrient intakes are implicated in type 2 diabetes risk in adults, but little is known about their influence on emerging type 2 diabetes risk in childhood. We examined these associations in a multi-ethnic population of children.
Research Design and Methods
Cross-sectional study of 2017 children predominantly of white European, South Asian and black African-Caribbean origin aged 9-10 years who had a detailed 24 hour dietary recall, measurements of body composition and provided a fasting blood sample for measurements of plasma glucose, HbA1c and serum insulin; HOMA insulin resistance was also derived.
Results
Energy intake was positively associated with insulin resistance. After the removal of 176 participants with implausible energy intakes (unlikely to be representative of habitual intake), energy intake was more strongly associated with insulin resistance, and was also associated with glucose and fat mass index. Energy density was also positively associated with insulin resistance and fat mass index. However, in mutually adjusted analyses, the associations for energy intake remained while those for energy density became non-significant. Individual nutrient intakes showed no associations with type 2 diabetes risk markers.
Conclusions
Higher total energy intake was strongly associated with high levels of insulin resistance and may help to explain emerging type 2 diabetes risk in childhood. Studies are needed to establish whether reducing energy intake produces sustained favourable changes in insulin resistance and circulating glucose levels.
doi:10.2337/dc13-1263
PMCID: PMC3966263  PMID: 23939542
2.  Ethnic Differences in the Prevalence of Myopia and Ocular Biometry in 10- and 11-Year-Old Children: The Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE) 
In children from similar sociodemographic backgrounds attending the same schools, South Asian children were nine times more likely to be myopic and black African Caribbeans three times more likely, compared with white Europeans. Ethnic differences in environmental susceptibility to myopia may be explained by genetics or early life exposures.
Purpose.
Ethnic differences in childhood prevalence of myopia have not been well characterized in the United Kingdom. In this study, ethnic differences in refractive status and ocular biometry were examined in a multiethnic sample of British children.
Methods.
This was a cross-sectional study of 10- and 11-year-old school children of South Asian, black African Caribbean, and white European ethnic origin. Vision, open-field autorefraction (without cycloplegia), and ocular biometry were measured in each eye. Myopia was defined as spherical equivalent refraction of −0.50 D with unaided vision of 20/30 or worse (in one or both eyes). Ethnic differences in the prevalence of myopia were examined by using logistic regression, and multiple linear regression was used for ethnic differences in ocular biometry. All models were adjusted for age, sex, and clustering within school.
Results.
Data were available for 1179 children. The prevalence of myopia was 25.2%, 10.0%, and 3.4%, respectively, in the South Asian, black African Caribbean, and white European children. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of myopia compared with the white European children were 8.9 (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.0 to 19.4) in the South Asian and 3.2 (95% CI, 1.4 to 7.2) in black African Caribbean children. Ethnic differences in the prevalence of myopia were largely accounted for by ethnic differences in axial length. The South Asian and black African Caribbean children had longer axial lengths (0.44 mm; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.57 mm and 0.30 mm; 95% CI, 0.16 to 0.44 mm, respectively).
Conclusions.
Among British children exposed to the same schooling environment, the South Asians had the highest prevalence of myopia, followed by the black African Caribbeans compared with the white Europeans. A quarter of British South Asian children were myopic, which is strongly related to increased axial length.
doi:10.1167/iovs.10-5528
PMCID: PMC3055754  PMID: 20631242
3.  Are Ethnic and Gender Specific Equations Needed to Derive Fat Free Mass from Bioelectrical Impedance in Children of South Asian, Black African-Caribbean and White European Origin? Results of the Assessment of Body Composition in Children Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76426.
Background
Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is a potentially valuable method for assessing lean mass and body fat levels in children from different ethnic groups. We examined the need for ethnic- and gender-specific equations for estimating fat free mass (FFM) from BIA in children from different ethnic groups and examined their effects on the assessment of ethnic differences in body fat.
Methods
Cross-sectional study of children aged 8–10 years in London Primary schools including 325 South Asians, 250 black African-Caribbeans and 289 white Europeans with measurements of height, weight and arm-leg impedance (Z; Bodystat 1500). Total body water was estimated from deuterium dilution and converted to FFM. Multilevel models were used to derive three types of equation {A: FFM = linear combination(height+weight+Z); B: FFM = linear combination(height2/Z); C: FFM = linear combination(height2/Z+weight)}.
Results
Ethnicity and gender were important predictors of FFM and improved model fit in all equations. The models of best fit were ethnicity and gender specific versions of equation A, followed by equation C; these provided accurate assessments of ethnic differences in FFM and FM. In contrast, the use of generic equations led to underestimation of both the negative South Asian-white European FFM difference and the positive black African-Caribbean-white European FFM difference (by 0.53 kg and by 0.73 kg respectively for equation A). The use of generic equations underestimated the positive South Asian-white European difference in fat mass (FM) and overestimated the positive black African-Caribbean-white European difference in FM (by 4.7% and 10.1% respectively for equation A). Consistent results were observed when the equations were applied to a large external data set.
Conclusions
Ethnic- and gender-specific equations for predicting FFM from BIA provide better estimates of ethnic differences in FFM and FM in children, while generic equations can misrepresent these ethnic differences.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076426
PMCID: PMC3799736  PMID: 24204625
4.  Prevalence of overweight, obesity and thinness in 9–10 year old children in Mauritius 
Objective
To document the prevalence of overweight, obesity and thinness in 9–10 year old children in Mauritius.
Methods
412 boys and 429 girls aged 9–10 years from 23 primary schools were selected using stratified cluster random sampling. All data was cross-sectional and collected via anthropometry and self-administered questionnaire. Outcome measures were BMI (kg/m2), prevalence of overweight, obesity (International Obesity Task Force definitions) and thinness (low BMI for age). Linear and logistic regression analyses, accounting for clustering at the school level, were used to assess associations between gender, ethnicity, school location, and school's academic performance (average) to each outcome measure.
Results
The distribution of BMI was marginally skewed with a more pronounced positive tail in the girls. Median BMI was 15.6 kg/m2 in boys and 15.4 kg/m2 in girls, respectively. In boys, prevalence of overweight was 15.8% (95% CI: 12.6, 19.6), prevalence of obesity 4.9% (95% CI: 3.2, 7.4) and prevalence of thinness 12.4% (95% CI: 9.5, 15.9). Among girls, 18.9% (95% CI: 15.5, 22.9) were overweight, 5.1% (95% CI: 3.4, 7.7) were obese and 13.1% (95% CI: 10.2, 16.6) were thin. Urban children had a slightly higher mean BMI than rural children (0.5 kg/m2, 95% CI: 0.01, 1.00) and were nearly twice as likely to be obese (6.7% vs. 4.0%; adjusted odds ratio 1.6; 95% CI: 0.9, 3.5). Creole children were less likely to be classified as thin compared to Indian children (adjusted odds ratio 0.3, 95% CI: 0.2, 0.6).
Conclusion
Mauritius is currently in the midst of nutritional transition with both a high prevalence of overweight and thinness in children aged 9–10 years. The coexistence of children representing opposite sides of the energy balance equation presents a unique challenge for policy and interventions. Further exploration is needed to understand the specific causes of the double burden of malnutrition and to make appropriate policy recommendations.
doi:10.1186/1744-8603-8-28
PMCID: PMC3477059  PMID: 22823949
Body mass index; Children; Mauritius; Obesity; Thinness
5.  Family dog ownership and levels of physical activity in childhood: findings from the Child Heart And health Study in England (CHASE) 
American journal of public health  2010;100(9):1669-1671.
Dog ownership is associated with higher levels of physical activity in adults; whether this association occurs in children is unknown. We examined objectively assessed levels of physical activity (using accelerometry) in 2065 children aged 9-10 years. Children from dog-owning families spent more time in light, moderate-vigorous physical activity, and recorded higher levels of activity counts-per-minute (25, 95%CI 6-44), and steps (357, 95%CI 14-701) per day than those who did not. Children living with pet-dogs are slightly more active, though the precise reasons have still to be established.
doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.188193
PMCID: PMC2920992  PMID: 20634441
Dog ownership; physical activity; children
6.  Cardiometabolic Risk Markers in Indian Children: Comparison with UK Indian and White European Children 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36236.
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036236
PMCID: PMC3338673  PMID: 22558399
7.  Visual Acuity Measures Do Not Reliably Detect Childhood Refractive Error - an Epidemiological Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e34441.
Purpose
To investigate the utility of uncorrected visual acuity measures in screening for refractive error in white school children aged 6-7-years and 12-13-years.
Methods
The Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction (NICER) study used a stratified random cluster design to recruit children from schools in Northern Ireland. Detailed eye examinations included assessment of logMAR visual acuity and cycloplegic autorefraction. Spherical equivalent refractive data from the right eye were used to classify significant refractive error as myopia of at least 1DS, hyperopia as greater than +3.50DS and astigmatism as greater than 1.50DC, whether it occurred in isolation or in association with myopia or hyperopia.
Results
Results are presented from 661 white 12-13-year-old and 392 white 6-7-year-old school-children. Using a cut-off of uncorrected visual acuity poorer than 0.20 logMAR to detect significant refractive error gave a sensitivity of 50% and specificity of 92% in 6-7-year-olds and 73% and 93% respectively in 12-13-year-olds. In 12-13-year-old children a cut-off of poorer than 0.20 logMAR had a sensitivity of 92% and a specificity of 91% in detecting myopia and a sensitivity of 41% and a specificity of 84% in detecting hyperopia.
Conclusions
Vision screening using logMAR acuity can reliably detect myopia, but not hyperopia or astigmatism in school-age children. Providers of vision screening programs should be cognisant that where detection of uncorrected hyperopic and/or astigmatic refractive error is an aspiration, current UK protocols will not effectively deliver.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034441
PMCID: PMC3314634  PMID: 22470571
8.  Socio-Economic Position and Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors: Patterns in UK Children of South Asian, Black African-Caribbean and White European Origin 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32619.
Background
Socio-economic position (SEP) and ethnicity influence type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) risk in adults. However, the influence of SEP on emerging T2DM risks in different ethnic groups and the contribution of SEP to ethnic differences in T2DM risk in young people have been little studied. We examined the relationships between SEP and T2DM risk factors in UK children of South Asian, black African-Caribbean and white European origin, using the official UK National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) and assessed the extent to which NS-SEC explained ethnic differences in T2DM risk factors.
Methods and Findings
Cross-sectional school-based study of 4,804 UK children aged 9–10 years, including anthropometry and fasting blood analytes (response rates 70%, 68% and 58% for schools, individuals and blood measurements). Assessment of SEP was based on parental occupation defined using NS-SEC and ethnicity on parental self-report. Associations between NS-SEC and adiposity, insulin resistance (IR) and triglyceride differed between ethnic groups. In white Europeans, lower NS-SEC status was related to higher ponderal index (PI), fat mass index, IR and triglyceride (increases per NS-SEC decrement [95%CI] were 1.71% [0.75, 2.68], 4.32% [1.24, 7.48], 5.69% [2.01, 9.51] and 3.17% [0.96, 5.42], respectively). In black African-Caribbeans, lower NS-SEC was associated with lower PI (−1.12%; [−2.01, −0.21]), IR and triglyceride, while in South Asians there were no consistent associations between NS-SEC and T2DM risk factors. Adjustment for NS-SEC did not appear to explain ethnic differences in T2DM risk factors, which were particularly marked in high NS-SEC groups.
Conclusions
SEP is associated with T2DM risk factors in children but patterns of association differ by ethnic groups. Consequently, ethnic differences (which tend to be largest in affluent socio-economic groups) are not explained by NS-SEC. This suggests that strategies aimed at reducing social inequalities in T2DM risk are unlikely to reduce emerging ethnic differences in T2DM risk.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032619
PMCID: PMC3296720  PMID: 22412897
9.  The estimated prevalence and incidence of late stage age related macular degeneration in the UK 
Background
UK estimates of age related macular degeneration (AMD) occurrence vary.
Aims
To estimate prevalence, number and incidence of AMD by type in the UK population aged ≥50 years.
Methods
Age-specific prevalence rates of AMD obtained from a Bayesian meta-analysis of AMD prevalence were applied to UK 2007–2009 population data. Incidence was estimated from modelled age-specific prevalence.
Results
Overall prevalence of late AMD was 2.4% (95% credible interval (CrI) 1.7% to 3.3%), equivalent to 513 000 cases (95% CrI 363 000 to 699 000); estimated to increase to 679 000 cases by 2020. Prevalences were 4.8% aged ≥65 years, 12.2% aged ≥80 years. Geographical atrophy (GA) prevalence rates were 1.3% (95% CrI 0.9% to 1.9%), 2.6% (95% CrI 1.8% to 3.7%) and 6.7% (95% CrI 4.6% to 9.6%); neovascular AMD (NVAMD) 1.2% (95% CrI 0.9% to 1.7%), 2.5% (95% CrI 1.8% to 3.4%) and 6.3% (95% CrI 4.5% to 8.6%), respectively. The estimated number of prevalent cases of late AMD were 60% higher in women versus men (314 000 cases in women, 192 000 men). Annual incidence of late AMD, GA and NVAMD per 1000 women was 4.1 (95% CrI 2.4% to 6.8%), 2.4 (95% CrI 1.5% to 3.9%) and 2.3 (95% CrI 1.4% to 4.0%); in men 2.6 (95% CrI 1.5% to 4.4%), 1.7 (95% CrI 1.0% to 2.8%) and 1.4 (95% CrI 0.8% to 2.4%), respectively. 71 000 new cases of late AMD were estimated per year.
Conclusions
These estimates will guide health and social service provision for those with late AMD and enable estimation of the cost of introducing new treatments.
doi:10.1136/bjophthalmol-2011-301109
PMCID: PMC3329633  PMID: 22329913
Prevalence; incidence; AMD; UK; epidemiology; clinical trial
10.  Travel to School and Physical Activity Levels in 9–10 Year-Old UK Children of Different Ethnic Origin; Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e30932.
Background
Travel to school may offer a convenient way to increase physical activity levels in childhood. We examined the association between method of travel to school and physical activity levels in urban multi-ethnic children.
Methods and Findings
2035 children (aged 9–10 years in 2006–7) provided data on their usual method of travel to school and wore an Actigraph-GT1M activity monitor during waking hours. Associations between method of travel and mean level of physical activity (counts per minute [CPM], steps, time spent in light, moderate or vigorous activity per day) were examined in models adjusted for confounding variables. 1393 children (69%) walked or cycled to school; 161 (8%) used public transport and 481 (24%) travelled by car. White European children were more likely to walk/cycle, black African Caribbeans to travel by public transport and South Asian children to travel by car. Children travelling by car spent less time in moderate to vigorous physical activity (−7 mins, 95%CI-9,-5), and had lower CPM (−32 CPM, 95%CI-44,-19) and steps per day (−813 steps, 95%CI,-1043,-582) than walkers/cyclists. Pupils travelling by public transport had similar activity levels to walkers/cyclists. Lower physical activity levels amongst car travellers' were especially marked at travelling times (school days between 8–9 am, 3–5 pm), but were also evident on weekdays at other times and at weekends; they did not differ by gender or ethnic group.
Conclusion
Active travel to school is associated with higher levels of objectively measured physical activity, particularly during periods of travel but also at other times. If children travelling by car were to achieve physical activity levels (steps) similar to children using active travel, they would increase their physical activity levels by 9%. However, the population increase would be a modest 2%, because of the low proportion of car travellers in this urban population.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030932
PMCID: PMC3272007  PMID: 22319596
11.  Patterns of body size and adiposity among UK children of South Asian, black African–Caribbean and white European origin: Child Heart And health Study in England (CHASE Study) 
Background The objective of this study was to examine adiposity patterns in UK South Asian, black African–Caribbean and white European children using a range of adiposity markers. A cross-sectional survey in London, Birmingham and Leicester primary schools was conducted. Weight, height, waist circumference, skinfold thickness values (biceps, triceps, subscapular and suprailiac) were measured. Fat mass was derived from bioimpedance; optimally height-standardized indices were derived for all adiposity markers. Ethnic origin was based on parental self-report. Multilevel models were used to obtain adjusted means and ethnic differences adjusted for gender, age, month, observer and school (fitted as a random effect). A total of 5887 children aged 9–10 years participated (response rate 68%), including 1345 white Europeans, 1523 South Asians and 1570 black African–Caribbeans.
Results Compared with white Europeans, South Asians had a higher sum of all skinfolds and fat mass percentage, and their body mass index (BMI) was lower. South Asians were slightly shorter but use of optimally height-standardized indices did not materially affect these comparisons. At any given fat mass, BMI was lower in South Asians than white Europeans. In similar comparisons, black African–Caribbeans had a lower sum of all skinfolds but a higher fat mass percentage, and their BMI was higher. Black African–Caribbeans were markedly taller. Use of optimally height-standardized indices yielded markedly different findings; sum of skinfolds index was markedly lower, whereas fat mass index and weight-for-height index were similar. At any given fat mass, BMI was similar in black African–Caribbeans and white Europeans.
Conclusions UK South Asian children have higher adiposity levels and black African–Caribbeans have similar or lower adiposity levels when compared with white Europeans. However, these differences are not well represented by comparisons based on BMI, which systematically underestimates adiposity in South Asians, and in black African–Caribbeans it overestimates adiposity because of its association with height.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyq180
PMCID: PMC3043281  PMID: 21044977
Ethnicity; South Asian; African–Caribbean; adiposity; obesity; body mass index
12.  Retinal arteriolar tortuosity and cardiovascular risk factors in a multi-ethnic population study of 10 year old children; the Child Heart And health Study in England (CHASE) 
Objective
To examine the association between cardiovascular risk factors and retinal arteriolar tortuosity in a multiethnic child-population.
Methods
Cross sectional study of 986 UK primary-school children of South Asian, black African Caribbean, and white European origin aged 10-11 years. Anthropometric measurements and retinal imaging, were carried out and a fasting blood sample collected. Digital images of retinal arterioles were analysed using a validated semi-automated measure of tortuosity. Associations between tortuosity and cardiometabolic risk factors were analysed using multilevel linear regression, adjusted for gender, age, ethnicity, arteriole branch status, month and school.
Results
Levels of arteriolar tortuosity were similar in boys and girls, and in different ethnic groups. Retinal arteriolar tortuosity was positively associated with levels of triglyceride, total and LDL cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure. One standard deviation increases in these risk factors were associated with 3.7% (95% CI 1.2, 6.4%), 3.3% (0.9, 5.8%), 3.1% (0.6, 5.6%), 2.0% (−0.3, 4.2%) and 2.3% (0.1, 4.6%) increases in tortuosity respectively. Adiposity, insulin resistance and blood glucose showed no associations with tortuosity.
Conclusion
Established cardiovascular risk factors, strongly linked to coronary heart disease in adulthood, may influence retinal arteriolar tortuosity at the end of the first decade of life.
doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.111.225219
PMCID: PMC3145146  PMID: 21659645
Retina; arteriolar tortuosity; cardiovascular risk
13.  Ethnic and gender differences in physical activity levels among 9–10-year-old children of white European, South Asian and African–Caribbean origin: the Child Heart Health Study in England (CHASE Study) 
Background Ethnic differences in physical activity in children in the UK have not been accurately assessed. We made objective measurements of physical activity in 9–10-year-old British children of South Asian, black African–Caribbean and white European origin.
Methods Cross-sectional study of urban primary school children (2006–07). Actigraph-GT1M activity monitors were worn by 2071 children during waking hours on at least 1 full day. Ethnic differences in mean daily activity [counts, counts per minute of registered time (CPM) and steps] were adjusted for age, gender, day of week and month. Multilevel modelling allowed for repeated days within individual and clustering within school.
Results In white Europeans, mean daily counts, CPM and mean daily steps were 394 785, 498 and 10 220, respectively. South Asian and black Caribbean children recorded more registered time per day than white Europeans (34 and 36 min, respectively). Compared with white Europeans, South Asians recorded 18 789 fewer counts [95% confidence interval (CI) 6390–31 187], 41 fewer CPM 95% CI 26–57) and 905 fewer steps (95% CI 624–1187). Black African–Caribbeans recorded 25 359 more counts (95% CI 14 273–36 445), and similar CPM, but fewer steps than white Europeans. Girls recorded less activity than boys in all ethnic groups, with 74 782 fewer counts (95% CI 66 665–82 899), 84 fewer CPM (95% CI 74–95) and 1484 fewer steps (95% CI 1301–1668).
Conclusion British South Asian children have lower objectively measured physical activity levels than European whites and black African–Caribbeans.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyp176
PMCID: PMC2720395  PMID: 19377098
Ethnic differences; childhood; physical activity
14.  Genome-wide association study identifies five loci associated with lung function 
Repapi, Emmanouela | Sayers, Ian | Wain, Louise V | Burton, Paul R | Johnson, Toby | Obeidat, Ma’en | Zhao, Jing Hua | Ramasamy, Adaikalavan | Zhai, Guangju | Vitart, Veronique | Huffman, Jennifer E | Igl, Wilmar | Albrecht, Eva | Deloukas, Panos | Henderson, John | Granell, Raquel | McArdle, Wendy L | Rudnicka, Alicja R | Barroso, Inês | Loos, Ruth J F | Wareham, Nicholas J | Mustelin, Linda | Rantanen, Taina | Surakka, Ida | Imboden, Medea | Wichmann, H Erich | Grkovic, Ivica | Jankovic, Stipan | Zgaga, Lina | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Peltonen, Leena | Gyllensten, Ulf | Johansson, Åsa | Zaboli, Ghazal | Campbell, Harry | Wild, Sarah H | Wilson, James F | Gläser, Sven | Homuth, Georg | Völzke, Henry | Mangino, Massimo | Soranzo, Nicole | Spector, Tim D | Polašek, Ozren | Rudan, Igor | Wright, Alan F | Heliövaara, Markku | Ripatti, Samuli | Pouta, Anneli | Naluai, Åsa Torinsson | Olin, Anna-Carin | Torén, Kjell | Cooper, Matthew N | James, Alan L | Palmer, Lyle J | Hingorani, Aroon D | Wannamethee, S Goya | Whincup, Peter H | Smith, George Davey | Ebrahim, Shah | McKeever, Tricia M | Pavord, Ian D | MacLeod, Andrew K | Morris, Andrew D | Porteous, David J | Cooper, Cyrus | Dennison, Elaine | Shaheen, Seif | Karrasch, Stefan | Schnabel, Eva | Schulz, Holger | Grallert, Harald | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | Delplanque, Jérôme | Froguel, Philippe | Blakey, John D | Britton, John R | Morris, Richard W | Holloway, John W | Lawlor, Debbie A | Hui, Jennie | Nyberg, Fredrik | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jackson, Cathy | Kähönen, Mika | Kaprio, Jaakko | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M | Koch, Beate | Hayward, Caroline | Evans, David M | Elliott, Paul | Strachan, David P | Hall, Ian P | Tobin, Martin D
Nature genetics  2009;42(1):36-44.
Pulmonary function measures are heritable traits that predict morbidity and mortality and define chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We tested genome-wide association with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and the ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity (FVC) in the SpiroMeta consortium (n = 20,288 individuals of European ancestry). We conducted a meta-analysis of top signals with data from direct genotyping (n ≤ 32,184 additional individuals) and in silico summary association data from the CHARGE Consortium (n = 21,209) and the Health 2000 survey (n ≤ 883). We confirmed the reported locus at 4q31 and identified associations with FEV1 or FEV1/FVC and common variants at five additional loci: 2q35 in TNS1 (P = 1.11 × 10−12), 4q24 in GSTCD (2.18 × 10−23), 5q33 in HTR4 (P = 4.29 × 10−9), 6p21 in AGER (P = 3.07 × 10−15) and 15q23 in THSD4 (P = 7.24 × 10−15). mRNA analyses showed expression of TNS1, GSTCD, AGER, HTR4 and THSD4 in human lung tissue. These associations offer mechanistic insight into pulmonary function regulation and indicate potential targets for interventions to alleviate respiratory disease.
doi:10.1038/ng.501
PMCID: PMC2862965  PMID: 20010834
15.  Early Emergence of Ethnic Differences in Type 2 Diabetes Precursors in the UK: The Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE Study) 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(4):e1000263.
Peter Whincup and colleagues carry out a cross-sectional study examining ethnic differences in precursors of of type 2 diabetes among children aged 9–10 living in three UK cities.
Background
Adults of South Asian origin living in the United Kingdom have high risks of type 2 diabetes and central obesity; raised circulating insulin, triglyceride, and C-reactive protein concentrations; and low HDL-cholesterol when compared with white Europeans. Adults of African-Caribbean origin living in the UK have smaller increases in type 2 diabetes risk, raised circulating insulin and HDL-cholesterol, and low triglyceride and C-reactive protein concentrations. We examined whether corresponding ethnic differences were apparent in childhood.
Methods and Findings
We performed a cross-sectional survey of 4,796 children aged 9–10 y in three UK cities who had anthropometric measurements (68% response) and provided blood samples (58% response); ethnicity was based on parental definition. In age-adjusted comparisons with white Europeans (n = 1,153), South Asian children (n = 1,306) had higher glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) (% difference: 2.1, 95% CI 1.6 to 2.7), fasting insulin (% difference 30.0, 95% CI 23.4 to 36.9), triglyceride (% difference 12.9, 95% CI 9.4 to 16.5), and C-reactive protein (% difference 43.3, 95% CI 28.6 to 59.7), and lower HDL-cholesterol (% difference −2.9, 95% CI −4.5 to −1.3). Higher adiposity levels among South Asians (based on skinfolds and bioimpedance) did not account for these patterns. Black African-Caribbean children (n = 1,215) had higher levels of HbA1c, insulin, and C-reactive protein than white Europeans, though the ethnic differences were not as marked as in South Asians. Black African-Caribbean children had higher HDL-cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels than white Europeans; adiposity markers were not increased.
Conclusions
Ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes precursors, mostly following adult patterns, are apparent in UK children in the first decade. Some key determinants operate before adult life and may provide scope for early prevention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Worldwide, nearly 250 million people have diabetes, and the number of people affected by this chronic disease is increasing rapidly. Diabetes is characterized by dangerous amounts of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Blood sugar levels are normally controlled by insulin, a hormone that the pancreas releases when blood sugar levels rise after eating (digestion of food produces glucose). In people with type 2 diabetes (the most common type of diabetes), blood sugar control fails because the fat and muscle cells that usually respond to insulin by removing sugar from the blood become less responsive to insulin (insulin resistant). Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise, and with drugs that help the pancreas make more insulin or that make cells more sensitive to insulin. Long-term complications of diabetes include kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, and an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems, including heart disease and stroke.
Why Was This Study Done?
South Asians and African-Caribbeans living in Western countries tend to have higher rates of type 2 diabetes than host populations. South Asian adults living in the UK, for example, have a 3-fold higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than white Europeans. They also have higher fasting blood levels of glucose, insulin and triglycerides (a type of fat), higher blood levels of “glycated hemoglobin” (HbA1c; an indicator of average of blood-sugar levels over time), more body fat (increased adiposity), raised levels of a molecule called C-reactive protein, and lower levels of HDL-cholesterol (another type of fat) than white Europeans. Most of these “diabetes precursors” (risk factors) are also seen in black African-Caribbean adults living in the UK except that individuals in this ethnic group often have raised HDL-cholesterol levels and low triglyceride levels. Ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes precursors are also present in adolescents, but the extent to which they are present in childhood remains unclear. Knowing this information could have implications for diabetes prevention. In this population-based study, therefore, the researchers investigate patterns of diabetes precursors in 9- to 10-year-old UK children of white European, South Asian, and black African-Caribbean origin.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled nearly 5,000 children (including 1,153 white European, 1,306 South Asian and 1,215 black African-Caribbean children) from primary schools with high prevalences of ethnic minority pupils in London, Birmingham, and Leicester in the Child Heart and Health study in England (CHASE). They measured and weighed more than two-thirds of the enrolled children and determined their adiposity. They also took blood samples for measurement of diabetes precursors from nearly two-thirds of the children. The recorded ethnicity of each child was based on parental definition. The researchers' analysis of these data showed that, compared with white Europeans, South Asian children had higher levels of HbA1c, insulin, triglycerides, and C-reactive protein but lower HDL-cholesterol levels. In addition, they had higher adiposity levels than the white European children, but this did not account for the observed differences in the other diabetes precursors. Black African-Caribbean children also had higher levels of HbA1c, insulin, and C-reactive protein than white European children, although the differences were smaller than those between South Asians and white Europeans. Similar to black African-Caribbean adults, however, children of this ethnic origin had higher HDL-cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels than white Europeans.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that ethnic differences in diabetes precursors are already present in apparently healthy children before they are 10 years old. Furthermore, most of the ethnic differences in diabetes precursors seen among the children follow the pattern seen in adults. Although these findings need confirming in more children, they suggest that the ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes susceptibility first described in immigrants to the UK are persisting in UK-born South Asian and black African-Caribbean children. Most importantly, these findings suggest that some of the factors thought to be responsible for ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes—for example, varying levels of physical activity and dietary differences—are operating well before adult life. Interventions that target these factors early could, therefore, offer good opportunities for diabetes prevention in high-risk ethnic groups, provided such interventions are carefully tailored to the needs of these groups.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000263.
The International Diabetes Federation provides information about all aspects of diabetes (in English, French and Spanish)
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides detailed information about diabetes for patients, health-care professionals and the general public, including information on diabetes in specific US populations (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service also provides information for patients and carers about type 2 diabetes (in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources and advice about diabetes (in English and Spanish)
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has a fact sheet on diabetes disparities among racial and ethnic minorities
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000263
PMCID: PMC2857652  PMID: 20421924
16.  Association of Novel Genetic Loci with Circulating Fibrinogen Levels: A Genome-Wide Association Study in Six Population-Based Cohorts 
Background
Fibrinogen is both central to blood coagulation and an acute phase reactant. We aimed to identify common variants influencing circulation fibrinogen levels.
Methods and Results
We conducted a genome-wide association analysis on six population-based studies, the Rotterdam Study, the Framingham Heart Study, the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the MONICA/KORA Augsburg Study, and the British 1958 Birth Cohort Study, including 22,096 participants of European ancestry. Four loci were marked by one or more single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that demonstrated genome-wide significance (p<5.0×10−8). These included a SNP located in the fibrinogen β chain (FGB) gene and three SNPs representing newly identified loci. The high-signal SNPs were rs1800789 in exon 7 of FGB (p=1.8×10−30), rs2522056 downstream from the interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1) gene (p= 1.3×10−15), rs511154 within intron 1 of the propionyl coenzyme A carboxylase (PCCB) gene (p= 5.9×10−10), and rs1539019 on the NLR family, pyrin domain containing 3 isoforms (NLRP3) gene (p = 1.04×10−8).
Conclusions
Our findings highlight biological pathways that may be important in regulation of inflammation underlying cardiovascular disease.
doi:10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.108.825224
PMCID: PMC2764985  PMID: 20031576
genome-wide association; fibrinogen; gene; FGB; IRF1; PCCB; NLRP3
17.  Is body mass index before middle age related to coronary heart disease risk in later life? Evidence from observational studies 
Objective
Although obesity beginning early in life is becoming more common, its implications for coronary heart disease (CHD) risk in later life remain uncertain. We examined the relationship of body mass index (BMI) before 30 years of age to CHD risk in later life.
Design
Systematic review of published studies relating BMI between age 2-30 years to later CHD risk. Studies were identified using Medline (1950 onwards), Embase (1980 onwards) and Web of Science (1970 onwards) databases (to November 2007).
Measurements
Relative risks (RR) of CHD associated with a 1 standard deviation (SD) increase in BMI (most based on a narrow age-range at measurement) were extracted by 2 authors independently, and combined using random-effect models.
Results
Fifteen studies provided seventeen estimates (731,337 participants, 23,894 CHD events) of the association of early BMI to later CHD outcome. BMI in early childhood (2 to 6 years, 3 estimates) showed a weak inverse association with CHD risk (RR 0.94, 95% CI 0.82-1.07). BMI in later childhood (7 to <18 years, 7 estimates) and BMI in early adult life (18-30 years, 7 estimates) were both positively related to later CHD risk (RR 1.09, 95% CI 1.00-1.20; RR 1.19, 95% CI 1.11-1.29 respectively). However, there was considerable statistical heterogeneity between study estimates. Results were unaffected by adjustment for social class and/or cigarette smoking, blood pressure and/or total cholesterol, in studies with available data. Gender and year of birth (1900-1976) had little effect on the association.
Conclusions
BMI is positively related to CHD risk from childhood onwards; the associations in young adults are consistent with those observed in middle age. Long-term control of BMI from childhood may be important to reduce the risk of CHD.
doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.102
PMCID: PMC2726133  PMID: 19506565
Body mass index; coronary heart disease; child/children; adolescent; young adults
18.  Chronic exposure to outdoor air pollution and diagnosed cardiovascular disease: meta-analysis of three large cross-sectional surveys 
Environmental Health  2009;8:30.
Background
Higher exposure to outdoor air pollution is associated with increased cardiopulmonary deaths, but there is limited evidence about the association between outdoor air pollution and diagnosed cardiovascular disease. Our study aimed to estimate the size of the association between long term exposure to outdoor air pollution and prevalent cardiovascular disease.
Methods
We carried out a cross-sectional analysis of data on more than 19,000 white adults aged 45 and older who participated in three representative surveys of the English population in 1994, 1998 and 2003, examining the relationship between self-reported doctor-diagnosed cardiovascular disease and exposure to outdoor air pollutants using multilevel regression techniques and meta-analysis.
Results
The combined estimates suggested that an increase of 1 μg m-3 in concentration of particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter was associated with an increase of 2.9% (95% CI -0.6% to 6.5%) in prevalence of cardiovascular disease in men, and an increase of 1.6% (95%CI -2.1% to 5.5%) in women. The year-specific analyses showed strongly positive associations in 2003 between odds of cardiovascular disease in both men and women and exposure to particulate matter but not in 1994 or 1998. We found no consistent associations between exposure to gaseous air pollutants and doctor-diagnosed cardiovascular disease.
Conclusion
The associations of prevalent cardiovascular disease with concentration of particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter, while only weakly positive, were consistent with the effects reported in cohort studies. The results provide evidence of the size of the association between particulate air pollution and the prevalence of cardiovascular disease but no evidence for an association with gaseous pollutants. We found strongly positive associations between particulate matter and cardiovascular disease in 2003 only, which highlights the importance of replicating findings in more than one population.
doi:10.1186/1476-069X-8-30
PMCID: PMC2716315  PMID: 19594904
19.  Is the NEI-VFQ-25 a useful tool in identifying visual impairment in an elderly population? 
BMC Ophthalmology  2006;6:24.
Background
The use of self-report questionnaires to substitute for visual acuity measurement has been limited. We examined the association between visual impairment and self reported visual function in a population sample of older people in the UK.
Methods
Cross sectional study of people aged more than 75 years who initially participated in a trial of health screening. The association between 25-item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ) scores and visual impairment (defined as an acuity of less than 6/18 in the better eye) was examined using logistic regression.
Results
Visual acuity and NEI-VFQ scores were obtained from 1807 participants (aged 77 to 101 years, 36% male), from 20 general practices throughout the UK. After adjustment for age, gender, practice and NEI-VFQ sub-scale scores, those complaining of poor vision in general were 4.77 times (95% CI 3.03 to 7.53) more likely to be visually impaired compared to those who did not report difficulty. Self-reported limitations with social functioning and dependency on others due to poor vision were also associated with visual impairment (odds ratios, 2.52, 95% CI 1.55 to 4.11; 1.73, 95% CI 1.05 to 2.86 respectively). Those reporting difficulties with near vision and colour vision were more likely to be visually impaired (odds ratios, 2.32, 95% CI 1.30 to 4.15; 2.25, 95% CI 1.35 to 3.73 respectively). Other NEI-VFQ sub-scale scores were unrelated to measures of acuity. Similar but weaker odds ratios were found with reduced visual acuity (defined as less than 6/12 in the better eye). Although differences in NEI-VFQ scores were small, scores were strongly associated with visual acuity, binocular status, and difference in acuity between eyes.
Conclusion
NEI-VFQ questions regarding the quality of general vision, social functioning, visual dependency, near vision and colour vision are strongly and independently associated with an objective measure of visual impairment in an elderly population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2415-6-24
PMCID: PMC1523367  PMID: 16764714
20.  Genetic predictors of fibrin D-dimer levels in healthy adults 
Circulation  2011;123(17):1864-1872.
Background
Fibrin fragment D-dimer is one of several peptides produced when cross-linked fibrin is degraded by plasmin, and is the most widely-used clinical marker of activated blood coagulation. To identity genetic loci influencing D-dimer levels, we performed the first large-scale, genome-wide association search.
Methods and Results
A genome-wide investigation of the genomic correlates of plasma D-dimer levels was conducted among 21,052 European-ancestry adults. Plasma levels of D-dimer were measured independently in each of 13 cohorts. Each study analyzed the association between ~2.6 million genotyped and imputed variants across the 22 autosomal chromosomes and natural-log transformed D-dimer levels using linear regression in additive genetic models adjusted for age and sex. Among all variants, 74 exceeded the genome-wide significance threshold and marked 3 regions. At 1p22, rs12029080 (p-value 6.4×10−52) was 46.0 kb upstream from F3, coagulation factor III (tissue factor). At 1q24, rs6687813 (p-value 2.4×10−14) was 79.7 kb downstream of F5, coagulation factor V. At 4q32, rs13109457 (p-value 2.9×10−18) was located between 2 fibrinogen genes: 10.4 kb downstream from FGG and 3.0 kb upstream from FGA. Variants were associated with a 0.099, 0.096, and 0.061 unit difference, respectively, in natural-log transformed D-dimer and together accounted for 1.8% of the total variance. When adjusted for non-synonymous substitutions in F5 and FGA loci known to be associated with D-dimer levels, there was no evidence of an additional association at either locus.
Conclusions
Three genes were associated with fibrin D-dimer levels, of which the F3 association was the strongest and has not been previously reported.
doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.009480
PMCID: PMC3095913  PMID: 21502573
genome-wide variation; D-dimer; epidemiology; meta-analysis; thrombosis; hemostasis
21.  A Comprehensive Evaluation of Potential Lung Function Associated Genes in the SpiroMeta General Population Sample 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19382.
Rationale
Lung function measures are heritable traits that predict population morbidity and mortality and are essential for the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Variations in many genes have been reported to affect these traits, but attempts at replication have provided conflicting results. Recently, we undertook a meta-analysis of Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) results for lung function measures in 20,288 individuals from the general population (the SpiroMeta consortium).
Objectives
To comprehensively analyse previously reported genetic associations with lung function measures, and to investigate whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in these genomic regions are associated with lung function in a large population sample.
Methods
We analysed association for SNPs tagging 130 genes and 48 intergenic regions (+/−10 kb), after conducting a systematic review of the literature in the PubMed database for genetic association studies reporting lung function associations.
Results
The analysis included 16,936 genotyped and imputed SNPs. No loci showed overall significant association for FEV1 or FEV1/FVC traits using a carefully defined significance threshold of 1.3×10−5. The most significant loci associated with FEV1 include SNPs tagging MACROD2 (P = 6.81×10−5), CNTN5 (P = 4.37×10−4), and TRPV4 (P = 1.58×10−3). Among ever-smokers, SERPINA1 showed the most significant association with FEV1 (P = 8.41×10−5), followed by PDE4D (P = 1.22×10−4). The strongest association with FEV1/FVC ratio was observed with ABCC1 (P = 4.38×10−4), and ESR1 (P = 5.42×10−4) among ever-smokers.
Conclusions
Polymorphisms spanning previously associated lung function genes did not show strong evidence for association with lung function measures in the SpiroMeta consortium population. Common SERPINA1 polymorphisms may affect FEV1 among smokers in the general population.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019382
PMCID: PMC3098839  PMID: 21625484
22.  Family and home correlates of children's physical activity in a multi-ethnic population: the cross-sectional child heart and health study in england (CHASE) 
Background
The influence of the family and home environment on childhood physical activity (PA) and whether this differs between ethnic groups remains uncertain. This paper investigates associations between family and home factors and childhood PA in a multi-ethnic population and explores whether associations differ between ethnic groups.
Methods
Cross-sectional study of 9-10 year-old schoolchildren, in which PA was objectively measured by Actigraph GT1 M accelerometers for ≤7 days to estimate average activity counts per minute (CPM). Information on 11 family and home environmental factors were collected from questionnaires. Associations between these factors and CPM were quantified using multi-level linear regression. Interactions with ethnicity were explored using likelihood ratio tests.
Results
2071 children (mean ± SD age: 9.95 ± 0.38 years; 47.8% male) participated, including 25% white European, 28% black African-Caribbean, 24% South Asian, and 24% other ethnic origin. Family PA support and having a pet were associated with higher average CPM (adjusted mean difference: 6 (95%CI:1,10) and 13 (95%CI:3,23), respectively) while car ownership and having internet access at home were associated with lower average CPM (adjusted mean difference: -19 (95%CI:-30,-8) and -10 (95%CI:-19,0), respectively). These associations did not differ by ethnicity. Although the number of siblings showed no overall association with PA, there was some evidence of interaction with ethnicity (p for ethnicity interaction = 0.04, 0.05 in a fully-adjusted model); a positive significant association with number of siblings was observed in white Europeans (per sibling CPM difference 10.3 (95% CI 1.7, 18.9)) and a positive non-significant association was observed in black African-Caribbeans (per sibling CPM difference: 3.5 (-4.2, 11.2)) while a negative, non-significant association was observed in South Asians (per sibling CPM difference -6.0 (-15.5, 3.4)).
Conclusions
Some family and home environmental factors have modest associations with childhood PA and these are mostly similar across different ethnic groups. This suggests that targeting these factors in an intervention to promote PA would be relevant for children in different ethnic groups.
doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-11
PMCID: PMC3050786  PMID: 21324105

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