Self-Reported Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Immigrants and Swiss Nationals


Florian F. Grossmann, Emergency Department, University Hospital Basel, Petersgraben 2, CH-4031 Basel, Switzerland. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the prevalence of self-reported cardiovascular risk factors differs between immigrants and Swiss nationals.

Design and Sample: This study is a secondary data analysis of the Swiss Health Survey 2002, a cross-sectional survey. In total, 19,249 individuals living in Switzerland were included.

Measures: The prevalence of hypertension, high cholesterol level, smoking, diabetes, overweight, low fruit and vegetable intake, and physical inactivity were calculated for major immigrant groups and Swiss nationals. Demographic data were used to control for age and socioeconomic status.

Results: Major immigrant groups were people from Italy, Germany, former Yugoslavia, Spain, Portugal, France, and Turkey. Compared with Swiss women, women from former Yugoslavia were more likely to have hypertension, and women from Germany were more likely to have high cholesterol levels. Women from Italy, former Yugoslavia, Spain, Portugal, and Turkey were more likely to show physical inactivity and (except Turkish women) to be overweight. Men from these countries (except Spanish men) were more likely to be overweight than Swiss men.

Conclusions: Differences exist in the prevalence of modifiable cardiovascular risk factors between Swiss nationals and many of the immigrant groups. Age and socioeconomic status could only partly explain the differences.