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Open Access Research article

A registry-based follow-up study, comparing the incidence of cardiovascular disease in native Danes and immigrants born in Turkey, Pakistan and the former Yugoslavia: do social inequalities play a role?

Nana F Hempler1*, Finn B Larsen2, Signe S Nielsen3, Finn Diderichsen4, Anne H Andreasen1 and Torben Jørgensen1

Author Affiliations

1 Research Centre for Prevention and Health, the Capital Region, Glostrup University Hospital, Building 84/85, 2600 Glostrup, Denmark

2 Centre of Public Health, Central Denmark Region, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark

3 Danish Research Centre for Migration, Ethnicity and Health, Section for Health Services Research, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, 1014 Copenhagen K, Denmark

4 Section for Social Medicine, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, 1014 Copenhagen K, Denmark

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:662  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-662

Published: 23 August 2011

Abstract

Background

This study compared the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) between native Danes and immigrants born in Turkey, Pakistan and the former Yugoslavia. Furthermore, we examined whether different indicators of socioeconomic status (SES), such as employment, income and housing conditions influenced potential differences.

Methods

In this registry-based follow-up study individuals were identified in a large database that included individuals from two major regions in Denmark, corresponding to about 60% of the Danish population. Incident cases of CVD and AMI included fatal and non-fatal events and were taken from registries. Using Cox regression models, we estimated incidence rates at 5-year follow-up.

Results

Immigrant men and women from Turkey and Pakistan had an increased incidence of CVD, compared with native Danish men. In the case of AMI, a similar pattern was observed; however, differences were more pronounced. Pakistanis and Turks with a shorter duration of residence had a lower incidence, compared with those of a longer residence. Generally, no notable differences were observed between former Yugoslavians and native Danes. In men, differences in CVD and AMI were reduced after adjustment for SES, in particular, among Turks regarding CVD. In women, effects were particularly reduced among Yugoslavians in the case of CVD and in Turks in the case of CVD and AMI after adjustment for SES.

Conclusions

In conclusion, country of birth-related differences in the incidence of CVD and AMI were observed. At least some of the differences that we uncovered were results of a socioeconomic effect. Duration of residence also played a certain role. Future studies should collect and test different indicators of SES in studies of CVD among immigrants.