STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to determine the effect of migration from a non-industrialised to an industrialised society on age related changes in blood pressure and serum cholesterol. DESIGN--The study was a comparison of major risk factors for cardiovascular disease in cross sectional surveys in two groups: Ethiopian immigrants and Israeli industrial employees. SETTING--Ethiopian immigrants were examined at Army induction centres in Israel; industrial employees were examined in the course of a national Israeli study on occupational risk factors for cardiovascular disease. PARTICIPANTS--Participants were a sample of 387 male Ethiopians, aged 20-49 years, examined in 1987, who had immigrated to Israel three to four years previously, and a sample of 2747 male Israeli industrial employees in the same age group examined in 1985-7. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Among the Ethiopians there were no cases of overweight (Quetelet's index above 2.8) and only 6.7% were smokers, as compared with 20.7% overweight and 47.1% smokers among the other Israelis (p less than 0.001 for both variables). There were no significant differences in the prevalence of hypertension (11.6% and 13.0% for Ethiopians and other Israelis respectively). Hypercholesterolaemia (greater than 5.2 mmol/litre, 200 mg/dl) was much more prevalent among the other Israelis (42.0% v 9.6%, p less than 0.001). Blood pressures were similar and increased with age in both groups. However, in contrast to the other Israelis, average serum cholesterol among the Ethiopians was low and increased minimally with age. After regression adjustment for age and body mass index, blood pressures were higher among the Ethiopians, whereas serum cholesterol remained considerably higher among the other Israelis. Serum cholesterol was correlated with blood pressure in both groups. CONCLUSIONS--Since Ethiopian immigrants have been found to have uniformly low blood pressures on arrival in Israel, these findings suggest that there is an age dependent effect on blood pressure resulting from migration which is not reflected in the serum cholesterol values.
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