UBC Faculty Research and Publications

South Asian-White health inequalities in Canada : Intersections with gender and immigrant status Veenstra, Gerry; Patterson, Andrew C


Objectives: We apply intersectionality theory to health inequalities in Canada by investigating whether South Asian-White health inequalities are conditioned by gender and immigrant status in a synergistic way. Design: Our dataset comprised 10 cycles (2001-2013) of the Canadian Community Health Survey. Using binary logistic regression modeling, we examined South Asian-White inequalities in self-rated health, diabetes, hypertension and asthma before and after controlling for potentially explanatory factors. Models were calculated separately in subsamples of native-born women, native-born men, immigrant women and immigrant men. Results: South Asian immigrants had higher odds of fair/poor self-rated health, diabetes and hypertension than White immigrants. Native-born South Asian men had higher odds of fair/poor self-rated health than native-born White men and native-born South Asian women had lower odds of hypertension than native-born White women. Education, household income, smoking, physical activity and body mass index did little to explain these associations. The three-way interaction between racial identity, gender and immigrant status approached statistical significance for hypertension but not for self-rated health and asthma. Conclusion: Our findings provide modest support for the principle that combinations of identities derived from race, gender and nationality constitute sui generis categories in the manifestation of health outcomes.

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