African Caribbean

Family walking

If you are of African Caribbean background, you are at higher risk of having high blood pressure or a stroke than other ethnic groups in the UK.

You are also at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which can lead to heart and circulatory diseases. 

Your risk of cardiovascular disease is affected by being overweight, not being physically active, having a family history of type 2 diabetes or previous diabetes in pregnancy.

You can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease with small lifestyle changes:   

Managing your weight

People who carry too much weight around their middle have a greater risk of developing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Research shows that if you’re African Caribbean you may be at increased risk of some health conditions at a smaller waist measurement than people from white European backgrounds. Women of an African Caribbean background tend to have a larger waist circumference, which puts them at increased risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

You can work out if you're at increased risk by simply measuring your waist. Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips, and measure around your middle at a point mid-way between these. For many people this will be at the level of the tummy button. Remember not to breathe in! Then check your measurement in the box below.

 If you are at high risk, don’t panic – being active and making simple changes to your diet can help you lose weight.


                                         waist measurement chart


Eating right

Eating healthily will help you to control your weight, blood sugar and cholesterol. The varied range of fruits, vegetables, pulses and grains in African Caribbean food provide a good range of vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein.

However, adding too much fat and salt to your meals can make these foods less healthy. Try using less oil, and choose unsaturated oils such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil instead of palm oil.

Aim to eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day to help protect you against heart and circulatory diseases. Try cooking with okra and green bananas - they'll help you reach your daily target.

Hold the salt

It is recommended that adults have no more than 6 grams of salt a day.

Try adding fresh herbs and spices, garlic, peppers, chillies and limes, rather than salt, to bump up the flavour of your favourite dishes.

Health check

Aged 40-74 and living in England? You can get a free NHS health check.

A health check is an assessment carried out by your GP or practice nurse to find out your risk of heart and circulatory diseases and other conditions.

Based on your results, your GP or nurse will advise you on what you can do to keep your heart healthy, and consider treatment - such as medicine - to protect your heart.

Free health checks are also available in Wales for the over-50s and in Scotland for those aged between 40 and 64.