Prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors across six African Immigrant Groups in Minnesota

Barrett Sewali, Nonyelum O Harcourt, Susan Everson-Rose, Robert E Leduc, Sirad Osman, Michele L Allen, Kola Okuyemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Although African immigrants represent a large and growing segment of the U.S. population, there are little or no data available on the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors among this diverse population. This study compared the prevalence of self-reported CVD risk factors and health behaviors and examined the associations between immigration related characteristics and CVD risk factors and health behaviors across six African immigrants groups. Methods: Data were from 996 African immigrants in the U.S., (37.9% Somalis; 26.8% Ethiopians; 14% Liberians; 8.5% Sudanese; 5.1% Kenyans and 7.8% others group) from a cross-sectional survey conducted in the Twin cities of Minnesota. Logistic regression models estimated the associations of demographic characteristics, and immigration-related factors (length of stay in the United states, English proficiency, income and health insurance) with prevalence of CVD risk factors (overweight/obese; hypertension and diabetes mellitus) and self-reported health behaviors (cigarette smoking, physical inactivity, conscious effort to exercise and eating a healthy diet). Results: We found a relatively low self-reported prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and smoking. However, significant differences were noted by country of origin. Using Somalis as our referent country of origin group, we found that Liberians and Kenyans were more likely to report having diabetes or hypertension. On all measures of health behaviors, Liberians were more likely to engage in more health protective behaviors than other individuals. Conclusions: Although African immigrants have different prevalence rates for CVD risk factors and health behaviors, there is a need to further explore the differences observed by country of emigration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number411
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 22 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Sewali et al.; licensee BioMed Central.


  • African
  • Cardiovascular
  • Immigrant
  • Risk factors


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