The role of blood pressure in explaining the increased risk of ischaemic heart disease (IHD) in Bengali immigrants living in the East End of London was studied in a comparative population study. In addition the effect on blood pressure of age, body mass, and duration of stay in the UK was evaluated. The Bengalis had significantly lower mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures though these differences disappeared after adjustment for age and body mass. Both groups, however, showed similar rises of blood pressure with increasing age and body mass. The effect on blood pressure of duration of time spent in the UK by the Bengalis could not be separated from that due to age, given the association between them. It seems unlikely that increasing duration of stay in inner London per se has a hypertensive effect on Bengali immigrants coming from a rural community. Further, the increased IHD risk in this group is not explained, even in part, by an increase in blood pressure.
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