Health and the Healthy Migrant Effect: An Examination of Hypertension, Diabetes, and Obesity Among African-born Immigrants Within the United States

Justin Vinneau , University of Colorado Boulder

The healthy migrant effect posits that foreign-born groups in receiving regions tend to have superior health outcomes when compared to native-born populations. Extant research on African-born migrants suggest that there may be some element of this healthy migrant effect present, however, it remains unclear as to whom their health outcomes are superior to. This study examines differential rates of cardiometabolic health outcomes (hypertension, diabetes, and obesity) of African-born, Black-identified respondents. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2002-2017, we compare African-born respondents to U.S.-born Whites, U.S.-born Blacks, U.S.-born Mexicans, and Foreign-born Mexicans. Results of logistic regression models indicate that, when compared to U.S.-born Whites, African-born respondents are at higher odds of being diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes but show lowered odds of obesity. These findings suggest that there is little evidence of a healthy migrant effect for cardiometabolic health among African-born migrants within the United States.

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 Presented in Session 7. Migration & Urbanization