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Cardiovascular disease is the most common and yet one of the most preventable causes of death. Moreover the risk of premature disease varies by ethnic group. Relative to subjects of Caucasian origin, Afro-Caribbeans and people of African descent have high incidence of stroke and end-stage renal failure whereas coronary heart disease is less common. On the other hand, South Asians (from the Indian sub-continent and from East Africa) have a higher incidence of CHD. Although different genetic make-ups might, in part, explain such differences, environmental and modifiable factors relating to diet and life-style play an important role.

Just over 3 million people in England & Wales belong to ethnic minorities. These groups are concentrated around and in inner cities. Morbidity and mortality from vascular disease and utilisation of health care resources are likely to be high in such areas and the strategies may not apply to these groups for which more tailored preventive strategies may be needed.

We carried out a population-based survey in South London to estimate the prevalence of the major cardiovascular risk factors in both men and women of different ethnic background. Approximately 1,600 men and women aged 40-59 years of three ethnic groups (white, South Asian and of African origin) living in Wandsworth, a borough of South London were screened between 1994 and 1996 for cardiovascular risk factors. Biological and DNA bank were set up.

Headlines of findings

 The RCGP and Boots the Chemists Research Paper of the Year Award

The Research Paper of the Year Award has been running since 1996 and is generously supported by Boots The Chemist. Its purpose is to raise the profile of research in general practice and to give recognition to an individual, or group of researchers, who have undertaken and published an exceptional piece of research relating to general practice.

The winners of the 2002 Award were:

Professor Francesco Cappuccio, Dr Pippa Oakeshott, Professor Pasquale Strazzullo and Mrs Sally Kerry from the Department of General Practice & Primary Care at St George’s Hospital Medical School in London for their paper:

Application of Framingham risk estimates to ethnic minorities in United Kingdom and implications for primary care prevention of heart disease in general practice: cross sectional population based study which was published in the British Medical Journal (2002) vol 325

The paper demonstrated the difficulties of applying the Framingham risk assessment for ten-year coronary risk across different ethnic populations.