CARDIA Study: Coronary Artery Risk Development In Young Adults (CARDIA). A study designed to increase understanding of contributors to changes in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors during the critical years of transition from adolescence through young adulthood to middle age. CARDIA was funded by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The original objectives of CARDIA were to document levels of risk factors for coronary artery disease and potential determinants of these risk factors in young adults; to study the interrelationships of risk factors and lifestyles and to document behavioral and environmental changes during the transition from adolescence to middle age; to compare cross-sectional and longitudinal data on age-related trends in cardiovascular disease risk factors; and to compare levels and evolution of risk factors between men and women, blacks and whites, and in groups of differing socioeconomic status.

The goals of CARDIA have evolved to emphasize understanding determinants of left ventricular mass, emerging obesity and hypertension, and sequelae of hypertension in pregnancy. CARDIA is a population-based observational study of 5,115 black and white mena and women participants aged 18-30 years recruited in 1985-1986. The sample was designed to achieve approximately balanced subgroups of race, gender, education (high school or less and more than high school) and age (18-24 and 25-30). Forty percent of the cohort had no more than a high school education. A second examination (1987-1988), third (1990-1991), fourth (1992-1993), fifth (1995-1996), and sixth examinations (2000-2001) have been completed in the cohort.

In addition to standard measurements of blood pressure, anthropometry, blood lipids, smoking behavior, physical activity, diet, pulmonary function, and many psychological factors, CARDIA has other included measurements (in subsets or in the full cohort) to obtain unique information on other aspects of risk factor development and early morbidity. These have included: graded exercise treadmill testing; echocardiography, particularly for measurement of left ventricular mass; cardiovascular reactivity; serum cotinine; Lp(a), apoE phenotype, apolipoprotein A1 and B; homocysteine; skin reflectance; body composition by dual X-ray absorptiometry; glucose tolerance testing; vascular resistance and compliance; and plasma renin activity and sympathetic nervous system activity.

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