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The Unusually Poor Physical Health Status of Cambodian Refugees Two Decades After Resettlement (Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health)

September 1, 2010

CHIS Journal Article

Authors: Eunice C. Wong, Grant N. Marshall, Terry L. Schell, Marc N. Elliott, Susan H. Babey, PhD, Katrin Hambarsoomians

How does the health status of Cambodian refugees compare to that of similar non-refugee Asian immigrants and the general population in California? Center Research Scientist Susan Babey and colleagues documented the health status, physical health functioning and disability of Cambodian refugees through 490 face-to-face interviews conducted with a sample of households from the Cambodian community in Long Beach, Calif., between October 2003 and February 2005. They compared these findings with the health status of the general adult population derived from the 2001 California Health Interview (CHIS). Cambodian refugees reported exceedingly poor health when compared to both the general population and to the Asian participants. This disparity was only slightly reduced when Cambodian refugees were compared to the subsample of Asian immigrants who were matched on gender, age, income and urbanicity. Although Cambodians refugees are older and poorer than the general population, their poor health cannot be fully attributed to these risk factors. Research is needed to guide health policy and practices aimed at eliminating this health disparity.

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