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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

CUNY Studies Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Asian Americans

Dr. Sandra Echeverria, Professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, Ms. Chimoa Amadi, a doctoral student, and colleagues examined the social and clinically relevant cardiovascular risk factors in Asian American adults. The findings were published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

It is important to understand how social determinants such as nativity status and education pattern cardiovascular risk factors among Asian Americans in the United States.

The research team used the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to examine the prevalence of Type II diabetes, smoking and obesity for Asian Americans (n=1363) and non-Latino Whites (n=4121). They classified Asian Americans as U.S. or foreign-born and by years in the U.S. The basis for obesity status was the standard body mass index (BMI) cut points of ≥30kg/m2 and Asian-specific cut points (BMI≥25kg/m2) that may be more clinically relevant for this population. The team fit separate logistic regression models for each outcome using complex survey design methods and tested for the joint effect of race, nativity and education on each outcome.

Diabetes and obesity prevalence (applying Asian-specific BMI cut points) were higher among Asian Americans when compared to non-Latino Whites but smoking prevalence was lower. These patterns remained in fully adjusted models and showed small increases with longer duration in the U.S. Joint effects models showed higher odds of prevalent Type II diabetes and obesity (Asian-specific) for foreign-born Asians, regardless of years in the U.S. and education, when compared to non-Latino Whites with high education. Smoking models showed significant interaction effects between race and education for non-Latino Whites only.

The study supports the premise that social as well as clinical factors should be considered when developing health initiatives for Asian Americans.