Cardiovascular Disease in Korean Americans: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Background:

Despite Korean Americans being one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in the United States, little is known about their cardiovascular health or cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Purpose:

The purpose of this report is to describe the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risks and their contributing factors in Korean Americans and recommend future directions for the development of cardiovascular disease prevention or management research to meet the unique needs of this ethnic group.

Methods:

We conducted a systematic review using databases of PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and identified 27 studies that reported the prevalence of cardiovascular disease or its risk factors in Korean Americans, published in English between 2000 and 2016.

Results:

We found high rates of unhealthy behaviors (eg, consumption of a high-sodium diet, physical inactivity, smoking) and risk factors (eg, hypertension, diabetes) for cardiovascular disease. Moreover, they were less likely to receive counseling about their diseases from healthcare providers and modify their lifestyle (eg, reduce their diet sodium intake, control their weight) to manage their diseases than were other ethnic populations. Individual-, interpersonal-, community-, and societal-level influences contributed to the high prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors.

Conclusions:

Data on subgroups of Asian Americans indicate that Korean Americans have significant lifestyle-related cardiovascular disease risks, which could be a critical agenda for researchers and clinicians to better understand cardiovascular health disparities in the United States.

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