A Health Behaviour Cross-Sectional Study of Immigrants and Non-immigrants in a Swiss Urban General-Practice Setting

Bodenmann, Patrick ; Cornuz, Jacques ; Vaucher, Paul ; Ghali, William ; Daeppen, Jean-Bernard ; Favrat, Bernard

In: Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 2010, vol. 12, no. 1, p. 24-32

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    Background Little is known about smoking, unhealthy use of alcohol, and risk behaviours for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in immigrants from developed and developing countries. Method We performed a cross-sectional study of 400 patients who consulted an academic emergency care centre at a Swiss university hospital. The odds ratios for having one or more risk behaviours were adjusted for age, gender, and education level. Results Immigrants from developing countries were less likely to use alcohol in an unhealthy manner (OR=0.35, 95% CI 0.22-0.57) or practise risk behaviours for STDs (OR=0.31, 95% CI 0.13-0.74). They were also less likely to have any of the three studied risk behaviours (OR=2.5, 95% CI 1.5-4.3). Discussion In addition to the usual determinants, health behaviours are also associated with origin; distinguishing between immigrants from developing and developed countries is useful in clinical settings. Surprisingly, patients from developing countries tend to possess several protective characteristics