Background: This study compared differences in cholesterol screening among immigrant populations and US born race/ethnic groups and whether improving access to health care reduced differences in screening.
Methods: Self-reported cholesterol screening for adults was calculated from multivariate logistic regression analysis of the 1988–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (N = 17,118). Immigrant populations were classified by place of birth and length of residency.
Results: After adjusting for individual characteristics and access to health care, the multivariate adjusted probability of cholesterol screening is significantly lower for persons originating from Mexico (70.9%) compared to persons born in the US (80.1%) or compared to US born Hispanic persons (77.8%). Adjustment for access to care did significantly reduce the difference in screening rates between immigrants and natives because the rate for natives remained the same, but the rate for immigrants improved. For example, the difference in screening between US born persons and persons born in Mexico was reduced by nearly 10% after adjustment for access to care.
Conclusions: There are persistent disparities in cholesterol screening for immigrants, particularly recent immigrants from Mexico, but improved access to health care may be a viable policy intervention to reduce disparities.