Effect of Relocation to the U.S. on Asthma Risk Among Hispanics

Elina Jerschow, Garrett Strizich, Xiaonan Xue, Golda Hudes, Simon Spivack, Victoria Persky, Guadalupe X. Ayala, Alan Delamater, Youngmee Kim, Erin Etzel, Jianwen Cai, Robert C. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction Asthma prevalence is reportedly higher among U.S.-born relative to foreign-born Hispanics/Latinos. Little is known about rates of asthma onset before and after relocation to the U.S. in Latinos. Asthma rates were examined by U.S. residence and country/territory of origin. Methods In 2015–2016, age at first onset of asthma symptoms was analyzed, defined retrospectively from a cross-sectional survey in 2008–2011, in relation to birthplace and U.S. residence among 15,573 U.S.-dwelling participants (aged 18–76 years) in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Results Cumulative incidence of asthma through age 30 years ranged from 7.9% among Mexican background individuals to 29.4% among those of Puerto Rican background. Among those born outside the U.S. mainland, the adjusted hazard for asthma was 1.52-fold higher (95% CI=1.25, 1.85) after relocation versus before relocation to the U.S. mainland, with heterogeneity in this association by Hispanic/Latino background (p-interaction<0.0001). Among foreign-born Dominicans and Mexicans, rates of asthma were greater after relocation versus before relocation (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] for after versus before relocation, 2.42, 95% CI=1.44, 4.05 among Dominicans; AHR=2.90, 95% CI=2.02, 4.16 among Mexicans). Puerto Ricans had modestly increased asthma onset associated with U.S. mainland residence (AHR=1.52, 95% CI=1.06, 2.17). No similar increase associated with U.S. residence was observed among Central/South American immigrants (AHR=0.94, 95% CI=0.53, 1.67). Asthma rates among Cuban immigrants were lower after relocation (AHR=0.45, 95% CI=0.24, 0.82). Conclusions The effect of relocation to the U.S. on asthma risk among Hispanics is not uniform across Hispanic/Latino groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-588
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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