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


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), the researchers 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 for³15 years or people born in Canada) among White, South Asian, Chinese, and Black ethnic groups living in Ontario. The researchers 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 with³2 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 — Results suggest that cardiovascular disease prevention strategies must consider not only ethnicity, but also the level of acculturation within each ethnic group.



Chiu M, Austin PC, Manuel DG, Tu JV. Can J Cardiol. 2012; 28(1):20-6. Epub 2011 Aug 9.

Contributing ICES Scientists