Preconception Wellness: Differences in Health by Immigrant Status
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- Xaverius, P.K., Salas, J. & Tenkku, L.E. J Immigrant Minority Health (2012) 14: 216. doi:10.1007/s10903-010-9424-7
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Disparities in health between immigrant and non-immigrant pregnant women in the United States is well documented, but few have documented disparities before pregnancy. Using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999–2006), we examined the health of reproductive-aged women (8,095), sorted by immigrant and pregnancy pregnant US-born (P-US), pregnant foreign-born (P-FB), non-pregnant US-born (NP-US), and non-pregnant foreignborn (NP-FB). P-US women were 5.2 times more likely to report illicit drug use than P-FB women. NP-US women were 3.7 times more likely to report illicit drugs use, 45% less likely to have a normal BMI, 2.0 times more likely to binge drink, 7.6 times more likely to smoke, 1.6 times more likely to engage in moderate physical activity, and 1.7 times more likely to use birth control than NP-FB women. The lower prevalence of numerous destructive health behaviors among preconceptional immigrant women is an important finding.