Cardiovascular risk factors by ethnic group and menstrual status among 13- and 14-year-old Israeli schoolchildren

B. Knishkowy, H. Palti, N. Tun, B. Adler, R. Gofin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Ethnic differences in cardiovascular risk factors have been demonstrated previously among Israeli children and adolescents. This study examines the prevalence of selected risk factors and risk factor clusters among 13- and 14-year old Israeli schoolchildren according to ethnic origin and other demographic variables, and takes into account the unique contribution of menstrual status of the girls to risk factor differences. Methods: Demographic and menstrual status (for the girls) data were obtained for 299 West Jerusalem eighth grade students. Height, weight, and blood pressure were measured, and blood was obtained for total cholesterol, high density cholesterol (HDL), and triglyceride measurements. Differences in mean Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure, and lipids, as well as in the percentage of children with specific risk factors or total number of risk factors were tested for among the various demographic and menstrual status groups. Results: BMI was statistically significantly greater among females (20.2 kg/m2) than among males (19.46 kg/m2), (p = .04) and among menstruating females (21.1 kg/m2) compared with non-menstruating females (17.9 kg/m2), (p = .000). Mean systolic blood pressure was higher among menstruating (109.8 mmHg) than non-menstruating (105.9 mmHg) females (p = .09). Statistically nonsignificant differences in mean systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol were found according to paternal country of origin. According to defined cutoff points, 8.7% of the students had elevated BMI, 2.8% had elevated systolic or diastolic blood pressure, and 13.0% had elevated total cholesterol. 17.5% of the students had one cardiovascular risk factor and 3.1% had two risk factors. Conclusions: The data demonstrate a high prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors without statistically significant ethnic differences in this population. Menstrual status exerted a unique effect upon BMI and systolic blood pressure. Pubertal status should be considered in the assessment of risk factors in early adolescents. Total-community-oriented intervention is recommended for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-73
Number of pages19
JournalPublic Health Reviews
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescence
  • blood pressure
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • cholesterol
  • ethnic group
  • lipids
  • puberty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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