The effect of age at migration on cardiovascular mortality among elderly Mexican immigrants

Ann Epidemiol. 2009 Jan;19(1):8-14. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2008.08.010. Epub 2008 Oct 14.


Purpose: In this study, we evaluated the influence of age at migration on cardiovascular mortality among older Mexican Americans immigrants.

Methods: A population-based cohort of Mexican-origin (N = 907) participants ages 60+ was followed up to 8 years. The association between migration before age 20 compared with after age 20 and mortality was analyzed with the use of multivariate Cox proportional models.

Results: Compared with those who migrated later, those who migrated before the age of 20 years had higher income and education, were more likely to speak English, were culturally more Anglo, and more likely to be men. Immigration before 20 years of age was associated with greater rates of cardiovascular mortality (hazard ratio, 2.39; 95% confidence interval, 1.16 - 4.94) compared with those migrating at older ages, even after adjustment for age, sex, education, income, and baseline cardiovascular health. No age at migration differences were observed for noncardiovascular deaths.

Conclusions: Mexican Americans who migrated in early life experienced greater cardiovascular disease death rates than later migrants. Early experiences related to migration may have consequences for late-life disease that are not mitigated by the higher socioeconomic status achieved by early migrants. Health or economic selection related to migration may play a role although accounting for health and socioeconomic status actually increased differences between early and later migrants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Mexican Americans
  • Middle Aged
  • Socioeconomic Factors