Understanding ethnic and nativity-related differences in low cardiovascular risk status among Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic Whites

Prev Med. 2012 Dec;55(6):597-602. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.09.019. Epub 2012 Oct 2.


Objective: Recent guidelines highlight the importance of improving cardiovascular health in the general population in addition to disease prevention among high risk individuals. We investigated factors associated with ethnic and nativity-related differences in the prevalence of low cardiovascular risk (optimal levels of all major cardiovascular risk factors).

Methods: We used logistic regression to estimate differences in likelihood of being low risk (not currently smoking; no diabetes; untreated total cholesterol <200mg/dL; untreated blood pressure <120/<80; and body mass index <25 kg/m(2)) among 8693 foreign- and U.S.-born Mexican-American and non-Hispanic White 2003-2008 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey participants before and after adjustment for socioeconomic, lifestyle, and acculturation-related factors.

Results: Foreign-born Mexican-Americans were more likely to be low risk than non-Hispanic Whites after adjustment for all covariates (Odds Ratio [OR]: 1.53; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.00, 2.34). In contrast, U.S.-born Mexican-Americans were less likely to be low risk compared to Whites (OR: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.43, 0.84). Differences between foreign-born and U.S.-born Mexican-Americans were largely attenuated after adjustment for acculturation indicators.

Conclusions: Our findings support the healthy migrant hypothesis and suggest that acculturation-related factors may be important drivers of ethnic and nativity-related differences in low cardiovascular risk.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans*
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Assessment / methods