A Health Behaviour Cross-Sectional Study of Immigrants and Non-immigrants in a Swiss Urban General-Practice Setting
Background Little is known about smoking, unhealthy use of alcohol, and risk behaviours for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in immigrants from developed and developing countries. Method We performed a cross-sectional study of 400 patients who consulted an academic emergency care centre at a Swiss university hospital. The odds ratios for having one or more risk behaviours were adjusted for age, gender, and education level. Results Immigrants from developing countries were less likely to use alcohol in an unhealthy manner (OR = 0.35, 95% CI 0.22–0.57) or practise risk behaviours for STDs (OR = 0.31, 95% CI 0.13–0.74). They were also less likely to have any of the three studied risk behaviours (OR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.5–4.3). Discussion In addition to the usual determinants, health behaviours are also associated with origin; distinguishing between immigrants from developing and developed countries is useful in clinical settings. Surprisingly, patients from developing countries tend to possess several protective characteristics.
KeywordsImmigration Health behaviours Smoking Unhealthy alcohol use Sexually transmitted diseases
We thank Paul Krechtmer, Ph.D., Managing Director of the San Francisco Edit, for reviewing the structure and style of the final draft, Fabrice Althaus, MD, for supervising physicians and managing data during the trial, Marie Pin for enrolling patients and for entering the data, and Christiane Ruffieux, statistician MD, for her participation in statistical planning and analysis. The study received financial support from the Swiss Federal Health Office. They however did not take part in the design, the data collection, analysis, interpretation of the data, the writing of the report or the decision to submit the paper for publication.
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