Distributions of plasma cholesterol, triglyceride, blood pressure, weight and height are described by age, sex and ethnicity for 2304 tenth grade students and 1443 of their parents in Houston, Texas. The pattern of sex and ethnic differences observed among Mexican American, Black, and Non-Hispanic White adolescents is dissimilar from that observed among their parents. Some of the differences may have biological importance. The sex differential in weight, for example, is much larger for Non-Hispanic White parents than for the other two ethnic groups. Among the ethnic groups, the mean value for weight is similar for male parents; yet is different for each of the three groups of female parents. The height of the Mexican-Americans is markedly less than that of the other two ethnic groups, for both males and females and for students and for parents. Quantification of increased or decreased risk of disease suggested by these observed ethnic differences requires longitudinal data for these three ethnic groups.
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