Life in Canada bad for immigrants’ health
While Chinese immigrants have the best cardiovascular health upon arrival, their incidence of heart problems goes up drastically after 10 years.
Researchers have found a “strong association” between the overall prevalence of traditional cardiac risk factors such as smoking in various immigrant groups and incidents of heart disease. The study found recent immigrants have a lower rate of major heart problems than long-term residents, but that gap shrinks the longer they’re in Canada.
Is living in Canada bad for your heart?
A groundbreaking new study has found that recent immigrants have a 30 per cent lower rate of major heart problems, such as heart attacks and strokes, than long-term residents, but that gap shrinks the longer they spend in Canada.
While newcomers are known to have better health than the general population because they must pass rigid health screening, Dr. Jack Tu, lead author of the study, says “part of it can be explained by most immigrant groups having lower rates of smoking and obesity than Canadian-born individuals.”
But after 10 years in Canada, and some of the negative impacts of Western culture, like fast-food and cigarettes, that “healthy immigrant effect” diminishes, the study shows.
While recent East Asian immigrants, predominantly Chinese, had the lowest incidence of major heart problems overall (2.4 in men and 1.1 in women per 1,000 person-years), South Asian immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Guyana had the highest rates, at 8.9 in men and 3.6 in women.
However, after 10 years in Canada, the rates among East Asians increased by 40 per cent for men and 60 per cent for women, said the study released by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in the American Heart Association journal Circulation on Monday.
“East Asians — Chinese from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan — are the most sensitive to the acculturation of Western culture. The overall incidence rate of the other (ethnic) groups is only up by 10 per cent after 10 years,” said Tu, a cardiologist at the Sunnybrook Schulich Heart Centre.
Tu said the study identified a “strong association” between the overall prevalence of traditional cardiac risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol in the various ethnic groups and incidence of heart disease and other conditions.