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Can J Public Health. 2004 May-Jun;95(3):I22-6.

New approaches to immigrant health assessment.

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Population Health Assessment Section, Surveillance Risk Assessment Division, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Health Canada, 120 Colonnade Road, AL 6702A, Ottawa, ON K1A OK9.


While immigrant subgroups may present vulnerabilities in terms of health status, health service use, and social determinants, comprehensive information on their health is lacking. To examine mortality (1980-1998) and health service utilization (1985-2002) patterns in Canadian immigrants, a record linkage pan-Canadian research initiative using immigration and health databases has been undertaken. Preliminary results indicate that overall mortality is low among Canadian immigrants as compared to the general population for most leading causes (thus supporting the notion of "healthy immigrant effect"), with cause-specific exceptions. Moreover, results from British Columbia show that overall physician visits are low for immigrants, but not for all subgroups. Results from Ontario demonstrate a sharp increase in physician claims approximately three months following landing. Future analyses will address the short- and long-term health outcomes of immigrant subgroups, including less common diseases. Results are pertinent to practitioners working with immigrants and can inform immigrant health policy.

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