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The overall consensus is that foreign-born adults who come to America age < 20 y achieve economic success but develop adverse behaviors (smoking and drinking) that lead to worse cardiometabolic health than immigrants who arrive age ≥ 20 y. Whether age of immigration affects the health of African-born Blacks living in America is unknown. Our goals were to examine cultural identity, behavior, and socioeconomic factors and determine if differences exist in the cardiometabolic health of Africans who immigrated to America before and after age 20 y. Of the 482 enrollees (age: 38 ± 1 (mean ± SE), range: 20–65 y) in the Africans in America cohort, 23% (111/482) arrived age < 20 y, and 77% (371/482) arrived age ≥ 20 y. Independent of francophone status or African region of origin, Africans who immigrated age < 20 y had similar or better cardiometabolic health than Africans who immigrated age ≥ 20 y. The majority of Africans who immigrated age < 20 y identified as African, had African-born spouses, exercised, did not adopt adverse health behaviors, and actualized early life migration advantages, such as an American university education. Due to maintenance of cultural identity and actualization of opportunities in America, cardiometabolic health may be protected in Africans who immigrate before age 20. In short, immigrant health research must be cognizant of the diversity within the foreign-born community and age of immigration.


This work was originally published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, available at doi:10.3390/ijerph17249405

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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