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Purpose—This study examined how race-ethnicity, nativity, and education interact to influence disparities in cardiovascular (CV) health, a new concept defined by the American Heart Association (AHA). We assessed whether race-ethnicity and nativity disparities in CV health vary by education, and whether the foreign-born differ in CV health from their US-born race-ethnic counterparts with comparable education.

Methods—We used data from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey to determine the prevalence of optimal CV health metrics (based on selected AHA guidelines) among adults ages 25 and over (n = 42,014). We examined the interaction between education and ethnicity-nativity, comparing predicted probabilities of each CV health measure between US-born and foreign-born Whites, Asians, and Latinos.

Results—All groups were at high risk of suboptimal physical activity levels, fruit and vegetable and fast food consumption, and overweight/obesity. Those with higher education were generally better-off, except among Asians. Ethnicity-nativity differences were more pronounced among those with less than a college degree. The foreign-born exhibited both advantages anddisadvantages in CV health compared to their US-born counterparts that varied by ethnicitynativity.

Conclusions—Education influences ethnicity-nativity disparities in CV health, with most raceethnic and nativity differences occurring among the less educated. Studies of nativity differences in CV health should stratify by education in order to adequately address SES differences.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Annals of Epidemiology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Annals of Epidemiology, volume 23, issue 7, in 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2013.04.012

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