Cardiovascular risk factor profiles of recent immigrants vs long-term residents of Ontario: a multi-ethnic study

Can J Cardiol. Jan-Feb 2012;28(1):20-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2011.06.002. Epub 2011 Aug 9.


Background: There is growing evidence that cardiovascular risk profiles differ markedly across Canada's 4 major ethnic groups, namely White, South Asian, Chinese, and Black; however, the impact of long-term Canadian residency on cardiovascular risk within and across these ethnic groups is unknown.

Methods: Using pooled data from Statistics Canada's National Population and Canadian Community Health Surveys (1996-2007), we compared the age- and sex-standardized prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and diseases between recent immigrants (< 15 years in Canada) and long-term residents (immigrants who lived in Canada for ≥ 15 years or people born in Canada) among White, South Asian, Chinese, and Black ethnic groups living in Ontario. We also calculated ethnic-specific attributable fraction (AF), defined as the proportion of risk that can be attributed to long-term Canadian residency.

Results: For all ethnic groups, cardiovascular risk factor profiles (ie, the percentage of people with ≥ 2 major cardiovascular risk factors, ie, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension) were worse among those with longer duration of residency in Canada. The greatest change in recent immigrants vs long-term residents was observed in the Chinese group (2.2% vs 5.2%; AF 0.47) followed by the White (6.5% vs 10.3%; AF 0.36), Black (9.2% vs 12.1%; AF 0.17), and South Asian (7.7% vs 8.2%; AF 0.03) groups. The prevalence of cardiovascular disease did not differ significantly between recent immigrants and long-term residents, irrespective of ethnic group.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that cardiovascular disease prevention strategies must consider not only ethnicity, but also the level of acculturation within each ethnic group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Ethnicity / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors