Ethnic minority groups must be included in European health research
Despite the knowledge that ethnicity matters in cardiovascular disease, most studies of cardiovascular disease risk have not been designed to yield results that apply to different ethnic groups, report Meghna Ranganathan and Raj Bhopal (of Edinburgh University) in a new study in the international open-access medical journal PLoS Medicine.
To ensure that the results of research studies can be applied to everyone in a multicultural society, it is important that all racial and ethnic groups are included in health research. This need is especially obvious for studies of diseases for which it is known that different risk factors exist in different parts of the population. Cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in most developed countries, is one of them. The disease, which is the underlying cause for heart attacks, strokes, and other serious health threats, is a major cause of death for all ethnic groups, and the risk is especially high in individuals originating from South Asia. In the UK for example, early deaths from coronary heart disease in Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, and Sri Lankans are about 50% higher than the national average. For Caribbeans and West Africans, on the other hand, the rates are much lower than average.
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