Objectives: This study tested hypotheses that: (1) levels of adiposity, as assessed by triceps and subscapular skinfold thicknesses (SFTs), and blood pressure would be higher in British Pakistani children than in white British children; and (2) British Pakistani children of mothers born in the UK would have smaller SFTs and lower blood pressure than children of mothers born in Pakistan.
Methods: Participants aged 7 to 11 years were recruited from five primary schools in a deprived urban area. BMI, waist circumference, triceps and subscapular SFT, and blood pressure were measured.
Results: Participants comprised 209 white British and 132 British Pakistani children, including 79 children born in the UK to migrant mothers and 49 children born to British-born mothers. In comparisons by ethnic group, triceps SFT was significantly higher in British Pakistani children only after controlling for BMI. Subscapular SFT was higher in British Pakistani children, a finding strengthened after controlling for BMI. Systolic blood pressure was significantly higher in British Pakistani children, but not after controlling for socioeconomic status (SES). There were no significant differences between British Pakistani children born to migrant or British-born mothers, except that systolic blood pressure was lower in children of British-born mothers after controlling for SES, a finding that was not significant after controlling for BMI.
Conclusions:: This study confirms previous findings of larger SFTs and higher blood pressure in British children of Pakistani origin than in children of white European origin. Further work with larger sample sizes is needed to investigate differences between generations.