OBJECTIVES: This research sought to describe the association between country of birth and gallbladder disease (GBD) in Mexican Americans, identify subgroups at especially high risk, and identify risk factors that may mediate a birthplace-GBD association. DESIGN: Cross-sectional. METHODS: Our study population included 4157 Mexican Americans aged 20-74 who participated in the 1988-94 third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. GBD was diagnosed by ultrasound. Information on country of birth, education, income, and selected GBD risk factors was obtained from interviews. Prevalence odds ratios (POR) for GBD in Mexico- vs. US-born Mexican Americans were estimated by unconditional logistic regression, along with 95% confidence intervals (CI). To evaluate the extent to which GBD risk factors mediated the birthplace-GBD association, PORs for country of birth were compared in models with and without additional covariates. RESULTS: Age-adjusted GBD prevalence was lower in Mexico- than in US-born Mexican-American women (POR = 0.70, 95% CI 0.50, 0.98) and men (POR = 0.63, 95% CI 0.40, 0.97). The difference was especially pronounced among subjects of lower socioeconomic status. Despite substantial differences in GBD risk factor distributions by birthplace, none could completely explain the prevalence difference. CONCLUSIONS: The observation that GBD prevalence is higher among US-born Mexican Americans is consistent with research showing poorer health in this group. Further research is needed to identify strategies for reducing morbidity from GBD in Mexican Americans.



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