Cardiovascular risk profile of Middle Eastern immigrants living in the United States-the National Health Interview Survey

Tamer Yahya, Isaac Acquah, Mohamad B. Taha, Javier Valero-Elizondo, Mouaz H. Al-Mallah, Mohammed A. Chamsi-Pasha, William A. Zoghbi, Ahmed Soliman, Nadeen Faza, Miguel Cainzos-Achirica, Khurram Nasir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Middle Eastern (ME) immigrants are one of the fastest-growing groups in the US. Although ME countries have a high burden of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), the cardiovascular health status among ME immigrants in the US has not been studied in detail. This study aims to characterize the cardiovascular health status (CVD risk factors and ASCVD burden) among ME immigrants in the US. Methods: We used 2012–2018 data from the National Health Interview Survey, a US nationally representative survey. ME origin, CVD risk factors, and ASCVD status were self-reported. We compared these to US-born non-Hispanic white (NHW) individuals in the US. Results: Among 139,778 adults included, 886 (representing 1.3 million individuals, mean age 46.8) were of ME origin, and 138,892 were US-born NHWs (representing 150 million US adults, mean age 49.3). ME participants were more likely to have higher education, lower income and be uninsured. The age-adjusted prevalence of hypertension (22.4% vs 27.4%) and obesity (21.4% vs 31.4%) were significantly lower in ME vs NHW participants, respectively. There were no significant differences between the groups in the age-adjusted prevalence of ASCVD, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and smoking. Only insufficient physical activity was higher among ME individuals. ME immigrants living in the US for 10 years or more reported higher age-adjusted prevalence of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and ASCVD. Conclusions: ME immigrants in the US have lower odds of hypertension and obesity, and of having a suboptimal CRF profile compared to US-born NHWs. Further studies are needed to determine whether these findings are related to lower risk, selection of a healthier ME subgroup in NHIS, or possible under-detection of cardiovascular risk factors in ME immigrants living in the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100312
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Cardiology
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Epidemiology
  • Middle Eastern
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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