Cardiovascular risk factors among Asian Americans: results from a National Health Survey

Ann Epidemiol. 2009 Oct;19(10):718-23. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2009.03.022. Epub 2009 Jun 26.


Purpose: We assessed the prevalence of major cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors among Chinese, Asian Indian, Filipino, and other Asian populations compared to non-Hispanic Whites in the United States.

Methods: We analyzed aggregated data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) from 2003 to 2005. Bivariate analyses were used to determine differences in the prevalence of CVD risk factors among Asian subgroups and white adults. Logistic regression analyses were also conducted to compare each Asian subgroup with white adults after taking sociodemographic variables into account.

Results: The unadjusted prevalence of physical inactivity was highest among Asian Indians and other Asians. After we controlled for covariates, Asian Indians still had higher odds of physical inactivity than Whites (odds ratio [OR]=1.50, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.22-1.84). All Asian ethnic groups were significantly less likely than Whites to report smoking, obesity, and binge drinking. Compared with Whites, Filipinos were more likely to have hypertension (OR=1.18, 95% CI=1.02-1.44) and Asian Indians were more likely to have diabetes (OR=2.27, 95% CI=1.63-3.20).

Conclusion: Although Asian race was generally associated with lower risk for CVD, certain risk factors were particularly high among some Asian subgroups. Future interventions should specify the needs of specific subgroups and design culturally specific programs to reduce health risk behaviors in each Asian subpopulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult