Immigrants' health worsens after moving to the U.S.

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 20, 2006

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A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study has found that immigrants to the United States become less healthy the longer they live here.

For example, 22% of Hispanic immigrants living in the United States for five years or longer were obese, compared to 16% of Hispanic immigrants residing in the United States for less than five years.

The report from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics is based on six years of data from the National Health Interview Survey. The significantly better physical and mental health of immigrants compared with their U.S.-born counterparts occurred despite the former's limited access to health care and little or no health insurance, according to the report.

The report also found that Hispanic immigrants who had lived in the United States for five or more years also were more likely to have hypertension (20% vs. 13%) and cardiovascular disease (5% vs. 4%) than their counterparts who lived in the United States for less than five years.

Similarly, immigrant black and Asian adults also reported better physical and mental health than their U.S.-born counterparts.

NHIS data are available online (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at

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