Impact of immigration on body mass index and blood pressure among adolescent males and females a nationwide study

Uri Hamiel, Orit Pinhas-Hamiel, Asaf Vivante, Cole Bendor, Aya Bardugo, Arnon Afek, Zivan Beer, Estela Derazne, Dorit Tzur, Doron Behar, Avi Itzhak, Karl Skorecki, Amir Tirosh, Ehud Grossman, Gilad Twig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immigration from one cultural milieu to another has been associated with a greater risk for incident cardiometabolic morbidity among adults. In this nationwide, population-based, cross-sectional study of data recorded from 1992 to 2016, we assessed the association between body mass index and blood pressure levels among adolescent immigrants, aged 16 to 19 years, of Ethiopian origin, and their secular trend of overweight and obesity. Adolescents of Ethiopian origin were classified as Israeli-born (n=16 153) or immigrants (N=23 487), with stratification by age at immigration. Adolescents whose fathers were at least 3 generations in Israel (n=277 789) served as a comparative group. Hypertensiverange blood pressure values adjusted for age, sex, and height served as outcome. Among adolescents of Ethiopian origin, overweight and obesity (body mass index ≥85th percentile), increased by 2.5 and 4-fold in males and females, respectively, during the study period, compared with a 1.5-fold increase among native Israeli-born males and females. The odds for hypertensive-range measurements increased with the length of residence in Israel: 7.3%, 10.6%, and 14.4% among males who immigrated at ages 12 to 19, 6 to 11.9, and 0 to 5.9 years, respectively; and 11.5%, 16.7%, and 19.3%, respectively, among females. Israeli-born Ethiopians had a significantly higher risk for hypertensive-range measurements at any body mass index level compared with native Israeli-born examinees, after adjusting for sociodemographic factors and health status. In conclusion, among Ethiopian Israeli adolescents, abnormal blood pressure correlates directly with the time-lapse since immigration. Immigrant populations require targeted surveillance and appropriate intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1316-1323
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Adolescent
  • Blood pressure
  • Body mass index
  • Hypertension
  • Immigration
  • Obesity


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