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J Prev Med Public Health. 2017 Nov;50(6):386-392. English. Original Article.
Kamimura A , Sin K , Pye M , Meng HW .
Department of Sociology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
Department of Health, Kinesiology and Recreation, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.


Refugees resettled in the US may be at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, little is known about CVD-related issues among Karen refugees who have migrated to the US from the Thai-Myanmar border. The purpose of this study was to examine CVD-related health beliefs and lifestyle issues among Karen refugees resettled in the US.


Karen refugees resettled in the US from the Thai-Myanmar border (n=195) participated in a survey study on health beliefs related to CVD, salt intake, physical activity (PA), and smoking in the fall of 2016.


A high-salt diet, physical inactivity, and smoking were major lifestyle problems. Participants who adhered to a low-salt diet considered themselves to be susceptible to CVD. Most participants did not engage in regular PA. Regular PA was associated with less perceived susceptibility to CVD and greater perceived benefits of a healthy lifestyle for decreasing the likelihood of CVD.


Each refugee population may require individualized strategies to promote PA and a healthy diet. Future studies should develop health education programs that are specifically designed for Karen refugees and evaluate such programs. In addition to health education programs on healthy lifestyle choices, tobacco cessation programs seem to be necessary for Karen refugees. At the same time, it is important to foster strategies to increase the utilization of preventive care among this population by promoting free or reduced-fee resources in the community to further promote their health.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.