Increased risk of heart disease and stroke among foreign-born females residing in the United States

Am J Prev Med. 2002 Jan;22(1):30-5. doi: 10.1016/s0749-3797(01)00400-7.


Background: Although the number of foreign-born people residing in the United States is at its highest point in 80 years, a mortality analysis of the foreign born has not been conducted since 1989. This article provides an update of mortality rates among the foreign born in the United States and, in particular, examines mortality rates from heart disease among foreign-born females.

Methods: We calculated mortality rates for U.S.-born and foreign-born people for all causes-ischemic heart disease, stroke, neoplastic disease, hypertensive diseases, diabetes, accidents, infectious disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-for 1997. Death data were obtained from the 1997 Multiple Cause of Death data file, and population data were obtained from the 1997 Current Population Survey.

Results: While all-cause, age-adjusted mortality rates for foreign-born people are significantly lower than for native-born people, deaths due to ischemic heart disease and stroke are significantly higher among foreign-born females than native-born females (161.63 and 58.24 deaths, respectively, per 100,000 foreign-born females vs 122.01 and 49.39 deaths per 100,000 native-born females).

Conclusions: Foreign-born females appear to be at greater risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke than native-born females. Future research efforts are needed to determine which foreign-born groups are most at risk for heart disease and stroke so that targeted prevention efforts can be initiated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cause of Death
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / ethnology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / mortality
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Diseases / ethnology
  • Communicable Diseases / mortality
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / mortality
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / ethnology
  • Hypertension / mortality
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / ethnology*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / mortality
  • Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Stroke / ethnology*
  • Stroke / mortality
  • Transients and Migrants*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data