Comparison of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors Among African Immigrants and African Americans: An Analysis of the 2010 to 2016 National Health Interview Surveys

Ruth Alma N. Turkson-Ocran, Nwakaego A. Nmezi, Marian O. Botchway, Sarah L. Szanton, Sherita Hill Golden, Lisa A. Cooper, Yvonne Commodore-Mensah

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Background Racial/ethnic minorities, especially non-Hispanic blacks, in the United States are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. However, less is known about the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among ethnic sub-populations of blacks such as African immigrants residing in the United States. This study's objective was to compare the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among African immigrants and African Americans in the United States. Methods and Results We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the 2010 to 2016 National Health Interview Surveys and included adults who were black and African-born (African immigrants) and black and US-born (African Americans). We compared the age-standardized prevalence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, overweight/obesity, hypercholesterolemia, physical inactivity, and current smoking by sex between African immigrants and African Americans using the 2010 census data as the standard. We included 29 094 participants (1345 African immigrants and 27 749 African Americans). In comparison with African Americans, African immigrants were more likely to be younger, educated, and employed but were less likely to be insured (P<0.05). African immigrants, regardless of sex, had lower age-standardized hypertension (22% versus 32%), diabetes mellitus (7% versus 10%), overweight/obesity (61% versus 70%), high cholesterol (4% versus 5%), and current smoking (4% versus 19%) prevalence than African Americans. Conclusions The age-standardized prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors was generally lower in African immigrants than African Americans, although both populations are highly heterogeneous. Data on blacks in the United States. should be disaggregated by ethnicity and country of origin to inform public health strategies to reduce health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e013220
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020



  • cardiovascular disease risk factors
  • ethnicity
  • hypertension
  • immigration and emigration
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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