Variations in health and health behaviors by nativity among pregnant Black women in Philadelphia

Am J Public Health. 2010 Nov;100(11):2185-92. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.174755. Epub 2010 Sep 23.


Objectives: We compared health behaviors and health outcomes among US-born, African-born, and Caribbean-born pregnant Black women and examined whether sociodemographic and psychosocial characteristics explained differences among these population subgroups.

Methods: We analyzed data from a prospective cohort study conducted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a series of nested logistic regression models predicting tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use and measures of physical and mental health.

Results: Foreign-born Black women were significantly less likely to engage in substance use and had better self-rated physical and mental health than did native-born Black women. These findings were largely unchanged by adjustment for sociodemographic and psychosocial characteristics. The foreign-born advantage varied by place of birth: it was somewhat stronger for African-born women than for Caribbean-born women.

Conclusions: Further studies are needed to gain a better understanding of the role of immigrant selectivity and other characteristics that contribute to more favorable health behaviors and health outcomes among foreign-born Blacks than among native-born Blacks in the United States.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa / ethnology
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Black People / ethnology
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Caribbean Region / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Philadelphia / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult