April 25, 2019
Woman holding heart
Health News

Foreign-Born Adults in US Have Healthier Hearts

by Wellness Letter  

Foreign-born adults living in the US have lower rates of coronary heart disease and stroke than their US-born counterparts, according to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association in April 2018.

For instance, while 6.4 percent of US-born adults have heart disease, age-adjusted rates are lower for those born in:

  • Africa, 3.1 percent
  • Asia, 3.4 percent
  • South America, 4.1 percent
  • Mexico and Central America, 5 percent
  • Indian subcontinent, 5.1 percent
  • Europe, 5.4 percent.

Risk was not related to length of time immigrants had resided in the U.S.

One possible explana­tion, according to researchers, is the “healthy immigrant effect”—that is, people who come here may be healthier than those left behind, “attributable to either self-selection or physical/legal barriers to entering the receiving country.”

This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Also see Dispelling a Myth About Immigrants' Health and Long Live Hispanics.