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Open Access Research article

Hospitalization for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes mellitus among Indian-born persons: a small area analysis

Peter Muennig1*, Haomiao Jia2 and Kamran Khan3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Policy and Management, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10003, USA

2 Department of Community Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, GA, 31207, USA

3 Inner City Health Research Unit, St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5V2M4, Canada

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2004, 4:19  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-4-19

Published: 27 October 2004



We set out to describe the risk of hospitalization from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes among persons born in India, all foreign-born persons, and U.S.-born persons residing in New York City.


We examined billing records of 1,083,817 persons hospitalized in New York City during the year 2000. The zip code of each patient's residence was linked to corresponding data from the 2000 U.S. Census to obtain covariates not present in the billing records. Using logistic models, we evaluated the risk of hospitalization for heart disease, stroke and diabetes by country of origin.


After controlling for covariates, Indian-born persons are at similar risk of hospitalization for heart disease (RR = 1.02, 95% confidence interval 1.02, 1.03), stroke (RR = 1.00, 95% confidence interval, 0.99, 1.01), and diabetes mellitus (RR = 0.96 95% confidence interval 0.94, 0.97) as native-born persons. However, Indian-born persons are more likely to be hospitalized for these diseases than other foreign-born persons. For instance, the risk of hospitalization for heart disease among foreign-born persons is 0.70 (95% confidence interval 0.67, 0.72) and the risk of hospitalization for diabetes is 0.39 (95% confidence interval 0.37, 0.42) relative to native-born persons.


South Asians have considerably lower rates of hospitalization in New York than reported in countries with national health systems. Access may play a role. Clinicians working in immigrant settings should nonetheless maintain a higher vigilance for these conditions among Indian-born persons than among other foreign-born populations.