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Acculturation and Cardiometabolic Abnormalities Among Chinese and Korean Americans



Studies generally show that higher acculturation is associated with greater cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among immigrants in the United States (US). However, few studies have compared how proxies of acculturation are differentially associated with metabolic abnormalities measured using objective biomarkers, self-reported diagnosis, and medication use, particularly among East Asian Americans.


Survey data and biomarker measurements collected from random (non-fasting) blood samples of Chinese and Korean immigrants in the US (n = 328) were used to examine the associations between two proxies for acculturation (years living in the US and English speaking proficiency) with three cardiometabolic abnormalities (high triglyceride levels, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia). Poisson regression models estimated prevalence ratios adjusted for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic factors, and body mass index. Gender, Asian subgroup, and household income were tested as potential effect modifiers.


Living longer in the US was associated with greater likelihood of having high triglycerides. In addition, living longer in the US was associated with greater likelihood of diabetes for people with lower household income and greater likelihood of hypercholesterolemia for people with higher household income. Higher level of English proficiency was less consistently associated with higher cardiometabolic risk, although there was a significant association with greater likelihood of hypercholesterolemia.


Longer time lived in the US is associated with higher risk of cardiometabolic abnormalities among Chinese and Korean Americans. Future studies of acculturation and cardiometabolic risk should carefully consider potential mechanisms and what proxy measures of acculturation capture.

Trial registration number

NCT03481296, date of registration: 3/29/2018.

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