Abstract P079: Biological Markers of Stress and Unhealthy Assimilation Behaviors Vary According to Reason for Immigration: the Africans in America Study
The relationship between the biological effect of stress, reason for immigration and unhealthy assimilation behaviors has not been studied in African immigrants to the United States. Therefore, in 88 African immigrants to the United States (age 41±10, (mean±SD), range 22-61y, male 65% (57 of 88)) we used the allostatic load score (ALS) to assess the biological response to stress. ALS was calculated using 10 variables from 3 domains; cardiac (SBP, DBP, cholesterol, triglyceride, homocysteine), metabolic (BMI, A1C, albumin, eGFR) and immunological (hsCRP). High-risk was defined by the highest quartile for each variable, except for albumin and eGFR, which used the lowest quartile. One point was assigned if the variable was in the high-risk range and 0 if not. Participants were grouped by reason for immigration: asylum, work, study, marriage, lottery and family reunification. Unhealthy assimilation behaviors were: smoking and alcohol intake. ALS was highest for asylum seekers (3.21±2.16) and lowest for family reunification (1.78±1.35). For the other reasons of immigration, ALS was in the range between these two scores (Figure). Thirty-six percent of asylum seekers were smokers (5 of 14), whereas all other African immigrants were non-smokers (0 of 74) (P<0.001). Similarly, self-reported alcohol intake was higher for asylum seekers than for the other reasons for immigration (43% (6 of 14) vs.22% (16 of 74), P=0.05). In conclusion, as demonstrated by ALS, asylum seekers experience the highest degree of stress and the most unhealthy assimilation behaviors. However, Africans who come to the United States for family reunification have a low prevalence of unhealthy assimilation behaviors and the lowest ALS. Therefore, reason for immigration may have a significant impact on both health and behavior.
Author Disclosures: R.L. Baker: None. J.N. Utumatwishima: None. B.A. Bingham: None. M. Ricks: None. L.S. Mabundo: None. M. Udahogora: None. D. Berrigan: None. S.T. Chung: None. A.E. Sumner: None.
- © 2017 by American Heart Association, Inc.