In N.J., healthy immigrants lose good habits after 10 years

    More than 20 percent of those living in New Jersey were born abroad. The state Health Department says they’re generally healthier than those born in the U.S.

    The Health Department report finds the 2 million New Jersey residents who emigrated from other countries have significantly lower rates for most leading causes of death.

    Health Commissioner Poonam Aleigh said Tuesday that’s in large part because immigrants are relatively healthy when they leave their homeland.

    “When they’re here they maintain their healthy cultural practices on a day-to-day basis. For example, in a certain culture, if you eat fresh home-cooked meals every night for dinner, that continues versus going to fast food,” she said.

    Aleigh said after foreign-born residents are here about 10 years, things change. She said they begin to suffer health problems as they adapt to a more sedentary lifestyle, perhaps beginning to smoke or binge-drink.

     

    Aleigh said the findings show American-born citizens can learn from other cultures about how to incorporate healthier habits into their own lives.

     

     

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.