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Examination of health behaviours in a dynamic population
  1. Wei Yang1,
  2. Fares Qeadan2,
  3. Julie Smith-Gagen1
  1. 1School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, USA
  2. 2Michigan State University, Department of Statistics and Probability, East Lansing, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Julie Smith-Gagen, School of Community Health Sciences and Manager of the Nevada Center for Health Statistics and Informatics at the University of Nevada, Reno, 1664 North Virginia Street/MS 274, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, USA; jsmithgagen{at}


Background An increasing USA population, especially as a result of foreign immigration, has been the recent focus of healthcare research and policy debate. However, little is known about domestic immigration and its impact on the measures of health conditions and behaviours used to develop and evaluate public health policies and programmes. The objective of this research is to compare health conditions and behaviours between domestic immigrants and established residents in Nevada, the fastest-growing state in the USA.

Methods The Nevada 2004–2006 Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance Survey and added state residency questions were used to examine the associations between length of residence and 24 explanatory variables on health behaviours and conditions. Weighted multiple logistic regressions were used for data analyses.

Results Among the 8663 respondents weighted to the total Nevada population, long-term residents (5 to <10 years), compared with newcomers or short-term residents, were more likely to report fair or poor health (OR=1.98, 95% CI 1.15 to 3.40) and obesity (OR=2.18, 95% CI 1.10 to 4.32), and to live with firearms in the home (OR=6.34, 95% CI 1.75 to 22.9). They were less likely to report having diabetes (OR=0.49, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.96), having had an HIV test (OR=0.60 95% CI 0.41 to 0.89), having prostate cancer (OR=0.20 95% CI 0.04 to 0.93) or having had a mammogram (OR=0.41, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.70).

Conclusions Long-term residents, compared with newcomers, provide a unique comparison group that share the same physical and policy environment but in different time periods. Knowledge of differences such as these can improve the specificity in identifying target groups for particular interventions.

  • Immigrant
  • health
  • lifestyle
  • behaviour
  • community groups
  • health status measure
  • health surveys
  • migration and health

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  • Funding Nevada State Health Division (Grant Tile ‘Nevada BRFSS Data Collection and Analysis,’ Grant Number: NVHD-3762).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by University of Nevada, Reno.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.