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Foreign-Born Blacks Experience Lower Odds of Obesity but Higher Odds of Diabetes than US-Born Blacks in New York City


Research is limited on the health of foreign-born Blacks (FBBs), who are often grouped with African Americans. This study compared obesity and diabetes odds in FBBs and US-born Blacks (USBBs) in NYC. Analyzing the 2009–2013 NYC Community Health Survey (3701 FBBs and 6297 USBBs), weighted multivariate logistic regression examined odds of obesity and diabetes, adjusting for age, gender, education, income, marital status, children < 18, BMI (for diabetes only) and duration of residence. FBBs had lower odds of obesity [OR  0.62 (95% CI 0.54, 0.72)] and greater odds of diabetes [OR 1.24 (95% CI 1.01, 1.52)] compared to USBBs. FBBs had 1.4 times the odds of diabetes at overweight status, compared to USBBs [OR  1.40 (95% CI 1.01, 1.95)]. Living in the US ≥ 10 years was not associated with odds of obesity and diabetes. Future research should seek to uncover unique risk profiles of sub-ethnic groups in the African diaspora.

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The authors wish to acknowledge Fangtao He with the NYC DOH, Division of Epidemiology, Bureau of Epidemiology Services for data support. No funding was received for this study.

Dataset Availability

The datasets analyzed during the current study are publicly available from the NYC DOH,

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Margrethe F. Horlyck-Romanovsky.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

Study procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of The City University of New York Central Human Research Protection Program and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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For this type of study formal consent is not required.

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Horlyck-Romanovsky, M.F., Wyka, K., Echeverria, S.E. et al. Foreign-Born Blacks Experience Lower Odds of Obesity but Higher Odds of Diabetes than US-Born Blacks in New York City. J Immigrant Minority Health 21, 47–55 (2019).

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  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Black
  • Immigrant
  • Duration of residence