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Ethn Health. 2000 May;5(2):137-50.

Major risk factors for cardiovascular disease in elderly migrants in Sweden.

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  • 1Lund University, Department of Community Medicine, Malmö University Hospital, Sweden.



The knowledge of elderly migrants' health, particularly those who are retired or in transition to retirement is limited. The purpose of this study was to analyse the association between migration, socio-economic status (SES), and risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).


A simple random sample of 253 foreign-born persons and 2847 Swedish-born persons aged 55-74 were drawn from the Swedish Population Registry. They were interviewed by Statistics Sweden in 1988-89. Outcome variables were leisure-time physical inactivity, smoker/non-smoker status, body mass index (BMI), hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. Explanatory variables were sex, age, marital status, migration status (country of birth), and SES (income). Logistic and linear regression were used.


Elderly foreign-born people ran an increased risk of engaging in no physical activity (men only), being a current smoker, and having an increased BMI after adjustment for background factors. In addition, a low income (first tertile) was an independent risk factor for physical inactivity (men only), as was being a current smoker (men only), BMI, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. Thus, the burden of being an elderly migrant increases the risk of a disadvantaged lifestyle between 50 and 80% compared with Swedes.


This study shows that migrants who are retired or in transition to retirement have a disadvantaged risk profile for cardiovascular disease. It might be possible to improve this situation by intervention, as for example by increasing a person's interest in walking.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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