From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Cardiovascular Health

The first of these projects examined blood pressure in relation to anthropometric differences. At ages 11-13 years, African origin children are taller and South Asians generally shorter than White British children of the same age. Systolic blood pressure correlates with anthropometric indices and with stage of maturation, and at these ages is generally not higher among the ethnic minority groups.


We have recently published a paper on the influence of parental and adolescent health-related behaviours on adolescent overweight and obesity.  We found ethnic differences in the prevalence of overweight and obesity e.g.  African origin girls were more likely to be overweight than White British girls, and White Other (not British) boys were more likely to be overweight and obese than White British boys.  There was also evidence of ethnic and generational differences in some of the risk factors we looked at e.g. skipping breakfast and maternal smoking.  Overall, skipping breakfast, maternal smoking, and maternal overweight were found to be associated with adolescent obesity.  We conclude that combined parent and adolescent focused interventions should be considered.   


Other projects are examining:  

  • socio-economic disadvantage, obesity and high blood pressure
  • social and anthropometric correlates of early maturity in African origin girls.
  • neighbourhood effects on ethnic differences in cardiovascular risk factors

Published Abstracts


Harding S, Maynard M.  Parental influences on adolescent overweight in a large multi-ethnic sample.  MRC DASH (Determinants of adolescent Social well-being and Health) study.  European Journal of Public Health 2006; 16 (Suppl.1): p68


Harding S, Maynard M, Cruickshank JK, Gray L. Blood Pressure and its determinants in Black Caribbean, Black African, South Asian and Caucasian adolescents in the MRC DASH study in Britain. West Indian Medical Journal 2005; 54 (Suppl. 2): p24 (O-10)


Harding S, Maynard M, Cruickshank JK.  The role of overweight and socio-economic disadvantage on high blood pressure in African origin and White adolescents in the MRC DASH study.  European Journal of Public Health 2005; 15 (Suppl.1): p32



Teyhan A. The impact of neighbourhood and school environments on ethnic differences in body size in adolescence [PhD], MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow 2012.

open access  


Harding S, Whitrow M, Lenguerrand E, Maynard MJ, Teyhan A, Cruickshank K, Der G. Emergence of ethnic differences in blood pressure in adolescence: the Determinants of Adolescent Social Well-being and Health study. Hypertension 2010;55:1063-9

pubmed  open access  


Harding S, Maynard MJ, Cruickshank K, Teyhan A. Overweight, obesity and high blood pressure in an ethnically diverse sample of adolescents in Britain: the Medical Research Council DASH study. International Journal of Obesity 2008;32:82-90

pubmed  open access  

Harding S, Teyhan A, Maynard M, Cruickshank J K. Ethnic differences in overweight and obesity in early adolescence in the MRC DASH study: the role of adolescent and parental lifestyle. International Journal of Epidemiology 2008;37:162-172

pubmed  open access  


Harding S, Maynard M, Cruickshank K, Gray L. Anthropometry and blood pressure differences in Black Caribbean, African, South Asian and White adolescents: the MRC DASH study. Journal of Hypertension 2006;24:1507-1514


Project Staff

External Collaborators


  • Blood pressure Blood pressure refers to the pressure exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels, especially the arteries. Blood pressure is usually expressed as a ratio, normal blood pressure being below 120/80. The systolic blood pressure, which is the top number, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries. The diastolic pressure, which is the bottom number, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after the contraction. The diastolic pressure, therefore, reflects the minimum pressure to which the arteries are exposed.
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