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Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Factors Among Somali Immigrants and Refugees.

Westgard B, Martinson BC, Maciosek M, Brown M, Xu Z, Farah F, Ahmed O, Dalmar A, Dubois D, Sanka L, Pryce D. Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Factors Among Somali Immigrants and Refugees. Journal of immigrant and minority health. 2021 Aug 1; 23(4):680-688.

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BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risks are of concern among immigrants and refugees settling in affluent host countries. The prevalence of CVD and risk factors among Somali African immigrants to the U.S. has not been systematically studied. METHODS: In 2015-2016, we surveyed 1156 adult Somalis in a Midwestern metropolitan area using respondent-driven sampling to obtain anthropometric, interview, and laboratory data about CVD and associated risk factors, demographics, and social factors. RESULTS: The prevalence of diabetes and low physical activity among men and women was high. Overweight, obesity, and dyslipidemia were also particularly prevalent. Levels of calculated CVD risk across the community were greater for men than women. CONCLUSION: Though CVD risk is lower among Somalis than the general U.S. population, our results suggest significant prevalence of risk factors among Somali immigrants. Comparison with prior research suggests that CVD risks may be increasing, necessitating thoughtful intervention to prevent adverse population outcomes.

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