Cardiovascular disease behavioral risk factors among Latinos by citizenship and documentation status

Alexander N. Ortega, Jessie Kemmick Pintor, Brent A. Langellier, Arturo Vargas Bustamante, Maria Elena De Trinidad Young, Michael L. Prelip, Cinthya K. Alberto, Steven P. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Studies have observed that recent Latino immigrants tend to have a physical health advantage compared to immigrants who have been in the US for many years or Latinos who are born in the United States. An explanation of this phenomenon is that recent immigrants have positive health behaviors that protect them from chronic disease risk. This study aims to determine if trends in positive cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk behaviors extend to Latino immigrants in California according to citizenship and documentation status. Methods: We examined CVD behavioral risk factors by citizenship/documentation statuses among Latinos and non-Latino US-born whites in the 2011-2015 waves of the California Health Interview Survey. Adjusted multivariable logistic regressions estimated the odds for CVD behavioral risk factors, and analyses were stratified by sex. Results: In adjusted analyses, using US-born Latinos as the reference group, undocumented Latino immigrants had the lowest odds of current smoking, binge drinking, and frequency of fast food consumption. There were no differences across the groups for fruit/vegetable intake and walking for leisure. Among those with high blood pressure, undocumented immigrants were least likely to be on medication. Undocumented immigrant women had better patterns of CVD behavioral risk factors on some measures compared with other Latino citizenship and documentation groups. Conclusions: This study observes that the healthy Latino immigrant advantage seems to apply to undocumented female immigrants, but it does not necessarily extend to undocumented male immigrants who had similar behavioral risk profiles to US-born Latinos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number629
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 6 2020


  • Cardiovascular disease prevention
  • Cardiovascular disease risk factors
  • Citizenship
  • Heart disease
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Immigrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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