Background In spite of the rapid rise in the US immigrant population during the past three decades, there have been relatively few national studies on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in immigrant population. We analyzed data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to provide racial/ethnic differences in patterns of CVD risk factors among US immigrants.
Methods NHIS is a comprehensive nationally representative survey of US noninstitutionalized civilian population. We analyzed data on 5,328 adult immigrants. We focused on three ethnic groups: Hispanic, white, and black. We identified six cardiovascular disease risk factors: overweight/obesity, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and physical inactivity. Diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia were based on self-report. Overweight/obesity was defined as body mass index of 25+; physical inactivity was defined as no moderate/vigorous activity per week; and smoking was defined as currently smoking. STATA was used for statistical analysis to account for the complex survey design.
Conclusions Patterns of CVD risk factors among US immigrants differ significantly by race/ethnicity. Physicians need to be aware of these racial differences in CVD risk factors. These differences need to be accounted for in developing tailored interventions for CVD risk reduction in the immigrant population.
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