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J Immigr Minor Health. 2011 Apr;13(2):333-44. doi: 10.1007/s10903-009-9243-x. Epub 2009 Apr 4.

African immigrant health.

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Division of General Internal Medicine, New York University, VA NY Harbor HCS 423 E 23rd St., New York, NY, 10010, USA.


As the number and diversity of Africans in the U.S. increases, there is a growing need to assess their health care needs and practices. Although infectious diseases have been a traditional point of contact between health care systems and African immigrants, there is a clear and unmet need to determine the risks and prevalence for chronic diseases. This review includes what has been published concerning the health of African immigrants in the U.S. and draws on European studies to supplement this assessment. While African immigrants arrive in the U.S. with some unique health problems, namely infectious diseases, they are generally healthier than African Americans of the same age. This 'healthy immigrant effect' has been well documented, but the acquisition of risk factors for chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer is poorly understood among African immigrants. More information must be gathered in the broad categories of chronic disease, health attitudes and health access to better promote the health of African immigrants.

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