Non-Hispanic Black people have a higher risk of cardiovascular (CV) events than those of other races or ethnicities; however, it was unclear why they differ in their susceptibility to early subclinical atherosclerosis. For a study, researchers sought to understand how race and ethnicity affect young, socioeconomically disadvantaged persons’ early subclinical atherosclerosis.

The study included 436 adults (parents/caregivers and staff) with a mean age of 38.0±11.1 years, 82.3% female, 66% self-reported as Hispanic, and 34% self-reported as non-Hispanic Black, recruited in the FAMILIA (Family-Based Approach in a Minority Community Integrating Systems-Biology for Promotion of Health) trial from 15 Head Start preschools in Harlem (a neighborhood in New York, New York, USA). Bilateral carotid and femoral 3-dimensional were performed on these patients. In addition, the 10-year Framingham CV risk score was generated, and multivariable logistic and linear regression models were used to investigate the association between race/ethnicity and the existence and severity of subclinical atherosclerosis.

There were no variations in the mean 10-year Framingham CV risk (which was  4.0%) according to race or ethnicity. Overall, non-Hispanic Blacks (12.9%) had a considerably greater prevalence of subclinical atherosclerosis than the Hispanic group (6.6% ). Non-Hispanic Black people were more likely than Hispanic people to have subclinical atherosclerosis (OR: 3.45; 95% CI: 1.44-8.29; P=0.006) and multiterritorial disease (P=0.026) after accounting for the 10-year Framingham CV risk score, body mass index, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and employment status.

Non-Hispanic Black younger adults appear more susceptible to early subclinical atherosclerosis than their Hispanic peers after adjusting for classic CV risk, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors. The finding raised the possibility that there were new or unidentified CV factors underlying the residual excess risk.