Background: Hypertension varies in prevalence among race/ethnic groups in the United States. Within-ethnic group differences associated with acculturation have been less frequently examined. We studied the association of three measures of acculturation (language spoken at home, place of birth, and years living in the US) with hypertension in a population sample of 2619 white, 1898 African American, 1,494 Hispanic, and 803 Chinese participants in the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
Methods: Multivariate Poisson regression was used to estimate the association between the acculturation variables and hypertension.
Results: Birthplace outside the US and speaking a non-English language at home were each associated with a lower prevalence of hypertension after adjustment for age, gender, and socioeconomic status (prevalence ratio [95% confidence intervals] 0.82 (0.77-0.87) for non-US born versus US born and 0.80 (0.74-0.85) for those not speaking English at home versus speakers of English at home, both P < .001). For participants born outside of the US, each 10-year increment of years in the US was associated with a higher prevalence of hypertension after adjustment for age, gender, and socioeconomic status (P for trend < .01). The associations between acculturation variables and hypertension were weakened after adjustment for race/ethnic category and risk factors for hypertension. Compared to US-born Hispanics, those born in Mexico or South America had lower prevalence of hypertension, but those born in the Caribbean and Central America had higher prevalence of hypertension.
Conclusions: Acculturation and place of birth are associated with hypertension in a multiethnic sample.