Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

Cardiovascular disease behavioral risk factors among Latinos by citizenship and documentation status.



Studies have observed that recent Latino immigrants tend to have a physical health advantage compared to immigrants who have been in the US for many years or Latinos who are born in the United States. An explanation of this phenomenon is that recent immigrants have positive health behaviors that protect them from chronic disease risk. This study aims to determine if trends in positive cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk behaviors extend to Latino immigrants in California according to citizenship and documentation status.


We examined CVD behavioral risk factors by citizenship/documentation statuses among Latinos and non-Latino US-born whites in the 2011-2015 waves of the California Health Interview Survey. Adjusted multivariable logistic regressions estimated the odds for CVD behavioral risk factors, and analyses were stratified by sex.


In adjusted analyses, using US-born Latinos as the reference group, undocumented Latino immigrants had the lowest odds of current smoking, binge drinking, and frequency of fast food consumption. There were no differences across the groups for fruit/vegetable intake and walking for leisure. Among those with high blood pressure, undocumented immigrants were least likely to be on medication. Undocumented immigrant women had better patterns of CVD behavioral risk factors on some measures compared with other Latino citizenship and documentation groups.


This study observes that the healthy Latino immigrant advantage seems to apply to undocumented female immigrants, but it does not necessarily extend to undocumented male immigrants who had similar behavioral risk profiles to US-born Latinos.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View