The Association Between Acculturation and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Ghanaian and Nigerian-born African Immigrants in the United States: The Afro-Cardiac Study

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Abstract

The burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in ethnic minorities in the United States (US) is high. Acculturation may worsen or improve cardiovascular health in immigrants. We sought to examine the association between acculturation and elevated cardiovascular disease risk in African immigrants, a growing immigrant population in the US. We conducted a cross-sectional study of Ghanaian and Nigerian born-African immigrants in the US. To determine whether acculturation was associated with having elevated CVD risk (defined as ≥3 CVD risk factors or Pooled Cohort Equations score ≥7.5%), we performed unadjusted and adjusted logistic regression analyses. For both outcomes, sex-specific models were fitted. Participants (N = 253) were aged 35–74 years and resided in Baltimore–Washington-D.C. The mean age (SD) was 49.5 (9.2) years and 58% were female. Residing in the US for ≥10 years was associated with an almost fourfold (95% CI 1.05–14.35) and eightfold (95% CI 2.09–30.80) greater odds of overweight/obesity and elevated CVD risk respectively in males. Females residing in the US for ≥10 years had 2.60 times (95% CI 1.04–6.551) greater odds of hypertension than newer residents. Participants were classified according to acculturation strategies: Integrationists, 166 (66%); Traditionalists, 80 (32%); Marginalists, 5 (2%); and Assimilationists, 2 (1%). Integrationists had a 0.46 (95% CI 0.24–0.87) lower odds of having ≥3 CVD risk factors and 0.38 (95% CI 0.18–0.78) lower odds of having elevated CVD risk (Pooled Cohort Equations score ≥7.5%) than Traditionalists. Although longer length of stay was associated with CVD risk, Integrationists had lower CVD risk than Traditionalists. Our results suggest that coordinated public health responses to the epidemic of CVD risk factors in the US should target this understudied population. Acculturation should be considered as a meaningful contributor of increased CVD risk and acculturation strategies may be used to tailor interventions in African immigrants. Promoting successful integration may reduce immigrants’ CVD risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Aug 29 2017

Keywords

  • Acculturation
  • African
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Culture
  • Health disparities
  • Hypertension
  • Immigrants
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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