Self-reported diabetes and hypertension among Arab Americans in the United States

Florence J Dallo, Luisa N Borrell
Ethnicity & Disease 2006, 16 (3): 699-705

OBJECTIVE: The prevalence of diabetes and hypertension is increasing in the United States. Estimates for Blacks and Hispanics are higher compared to non-Hispanic Whites. When comparing estimates among racial and ethnic groups, Whites are used as the reference category. Whites are a very heterogeneous group, comprising persons having origins in Europe, North America, or the Middle East. The objective of this paper was to examine the association between nativity and self-reported diabetes and hypertension among a sample of non-Hispanic Whites including individuals born in the Middle East (referred to as Arab Americans; n=425) and born in the United States (n=79,228).

DESIGN: We use data from the 2000-2003 National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS). The NHIS is an annual, face-to-face interview of the civilian, noninstitutionalized US population that uses a three-stage stratified cluster probability sampling design.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the association between nativity and self-reported diabetes and hypertension among non-Hispanic Whites.

RESULTS: We found that the prevalence of diabetes was 4.8% for Arab Americans and 6.9% for non-Hispanic Whites (not significant). Similarly, the prevalence of hypertension was 13.4% for Arab Americans and 24.5% for non-Hispanic Whites (P<.0001). No association between country of birth, diabetes, or hypertension was seen.

CONCLUSIONS: Nativity status was not significantly associated with self-reported diabetes and hypertension among non-Hispanic Whites. Future studies should examine ethnic heterogeneity among non-Hispanic Whites.

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