Healthy Immigrant Effect in Canada: A Longitudinal Perspective Using National Population Health Surveys

Edward Ng, Statistics Canada
Russell Wilkins, Statistics Canada
Jean-Marie Berthelot, Statistics Canada

Previous studies in Canada and elsewhere based on cross-sectional data generally point to a strong 'healthy immigrant effect' which diminishes overtime. To better understand the duration-related gradient of health among immigrants, we use four waves of Canadian National Population Health Surveys (NPHS) conducted bi-annually from 1994 to 2000 to ascertain the change in immigrants' health as they adjust to the host country. We compare changes in health status (prevalence of chronic conditions, disability and dependency), health care utilization (hospitalization, contact with physician and dentist), and health-related behaviours (such as smoking and physical activity) by immigration status (European and non-European compared with Canadian-born) and by duration of residence over the 6 years period of the surveys, controlling for socio-economic factors such as age, sex, income and education. This is an important first step in disentangling the different factors contributing to the changes in health of immigrants to Canada.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Health and Mortality