Platelet counts differ by sex, ethnicity, and age in the United States

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


PURPOSE: The aim of the study is to show that differences in platelet counts by ethnicity, sex, and age are not explained by environmental factors. METHODS: This is a cross-sectional population-based study of participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Our analytic sample included 12,142 participants, of whom 65% were women, 27% were non-Hispanic blacks, and 27% were Mexican Americans. We report weighted geometric mean platelet counts stratified by ethnicity, sex, and age and controlled for indicators of nutritional deficiencies and inflammation. RESULTS: The lowest mean platelet counts were in whites (260 × 103/μL; 95% confidence interval [CI], 256-264), and the highest were in non-Hispanic blacks (281 × 103/μL [95% CI, 276-286]). Older men and women of each ethnicity consistently had lower platelet counts than young adults; 60- to 69-year-olds had mean counts 7 × 103/μL lower (p <0.001) and 70- to 90-year-olds had counts 18 × 103/μL lower (p <0.001). Even controlling for iron deficiency, women had higher platelet counts than men (275 × 103/μL; 95% CI, 271-279) versus 256 × 103/μL (95% CI, 251-260; p <0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Platelet count differences by sex, ethnicity, and age are not explained by environmental covariates known to influence platelet count.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006



  • Adult
  • Blood Platelets
  • Environment
  • Ethnology
  • Nutrition Survey
  • Platelet Count
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology

Cite this