Background: This study examines the nature of disparities in cardiovascular risk by exploring chronic stressors and other cardiovascular risk factors on youth of African descent who are integrating into an industrialized society. Methods: Qualitative data on cardiovascular risk and acclimation to the dominant society were collected from three groups of key informants: (1) community leaders; (2) youth; and (3) a community advisory group. Results: Youth of Ethiopian descent engaged in the same western diets, computerized social networking, and habits in smoking and alcohol use as did youth from the dominant society. However, informants of Ethiopian descent encountered and witnessed racism, institutional discrimination and evidence of devaluing Ethiopian culture, influencing youths' ability to integrate into the society. Conclusion: Immigrant youth of Ethiopian descent face an accumulation of conflicting social support, psychosocial factors, and stressors, including: living in low-income, high-crime areas; encountering pervasive discrimination; acclimating to a new and industrialized culture; and navigating within an often unhospitable society. Contributing to these factors are changes in health behaviors such as adding processed foods and sugary drinks to the diet, increasing heavy alcohol use and substituting screen use for physical activity. The accumulative impact of these factors contributes to the marginalization of youth of Ethiopian descent in the dominant society and perpetuates a cycle of increasing cardiovascular risk.
|Journal||BMC Public Health|
|State||Published - 15 Aug 2015|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to thank Yaara Oltchik for her assistance with scheduling and conducting interviews. In part, the European Union’s Marie Curie Career Reintegration Grant #303525 supported this study.
© 2015 Zlotnick et al.
- Cardiovascular risk
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health