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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 470705, 6 pages
Review Article

Lifestyle Risk Factors and Cardiovascular Disease in Cubans and Cuban Americans

1Division of Cardiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
2Division of Cardiology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
3Division of Cardiology, University Hospital V. I. Lenin, Holguin, Cuba
4Atlanta Vascular Research Foundation, Atlanta, GA 30084, USA
5Division of Cardiology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

Received 13 June 2011; Accepted 14 October 2011

Academic Editor: Donna Murnaghan

Copyright © 2012 Melissa S. Burroughs Peña et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in Cuba. Lifestyle risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) in Cubans have not been compared to risk factors in Cuban Americans. Articles spanning the last 20 years were reviewed. The data on Cuban Americans are largely based on the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HHANES), 1982–1984, while more recent data on epidemiological trends in Cuba are available. The prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus remains greater in Cuban Americans than in Cubans. However, dietary preferences, low physical activity, and tobacco use are contributing to the rising rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and CHD in Cuba, putting Cubans at increased cardiovascular risk. Comprehensive national strategies for cardiovascular prevention that address these modifiable lifestyle risk factors are necessary to address the increasing threat to public health in Cuba.