Introduction: The proportion of US adults who are foreign-born has almost tripled since 1970. While foreign-born adults have lower cardiovascular disease mortality and risk factors (e.g., hypertension) than US-born adults, less is known about the morbidity of stroke in this population.
Objective: To compare the prevalence of stroke among US adults by birthplace.
Methods: We used data on 223,842 non-institutionalized adults from the 2006-2013 National Health Interview Survey. Birthplace was categorized as US- and foreign-born, and foreign-born was then grouped into 7 regions. Data on years of living in the US was included. Self-reported stroke was defined as ever being told by doctor or other health professional that s/he had a stroke. Select descriptive (age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, health insurance, language of interview, use of interpreter) and health characteristics (hypertension, diabetes, body mass index, alcohol use, smoking status) were used in analysis. Age-standardized prevalence of stroke was compared between US- and foreign-born and then by birthplace regions among foreign-born. Adjusted odd ratios (AORs) were used to assess stroke risk between US- and foreign-born after adjusting for demographic and health characteristics.
Results: Sixteen percent of US adults were classified as foreign-born. Age-standardized prevalence of stroke was higher among US- than foreign-born adults overall (2.7% vs 2.0%, p<0.0001) and by race/ethnicity: non-Hispanic blacks (4.1% (US) vs 2.2% (foreign-born), p<0.0001), Hispanics (2.8% vs 2.2%, p=0.03) and non-Hispanic whites (2.5% vs 1.7%, p<0.0001). Compared to US-born men, AORs of stroke for foreign-born men by region of birth, ranged from 0.24 (95% confidence interval 0.08-0.69) for Africa to 1.05 (0.74-1.51) for Europe. Among foreign-born women, AORs ranged from 0.07 (0.01-0.43) for the Middle East to 1.13 (0.54-2.34) for Africa, after adjustment for selected characteristics. Among foreign-born adults, there was no association between age-standardized stroke prevalence and the number of years living in the US.
Conclusion: Overall, foreign-born US adults had a lower prevalence of stroke than US-born adults. However, considerable heterogeneity of stroke risk was noted by region of birth.