Cognitive limitations among Middle Eastern and North African immigrants

Document Type


Publication Date



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Publication Title

Journal of Aging and Health


Objectives: To estimate and compare the prevalence of cognitive limitations among Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) immigrants compared to US- and foreign-born non-Hispanic Whites from Europe (including Russia/former USSR) and examine differences after controlling for risk factors. Methods: Cross-sectional data using linked 2000-2017 National Health Interview Survey and 2001–2018 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data (ages >=65 years, n = 24,827) were analyzed. Results: The prevalence of cognitive limitations was 17.3% among MENA immigrants compared to 9.6% and 13.6% among USand foreign-born non-Hispanic Whites from Europe. MENA immigrants had higher odds (OR = 1.88; 95% CI = 1.06–3.34) of reporting a cognitive limitation than US-born non-Hispanic Whites after controlling for age, sex, education, hearing loss, hypertension, depression, social isolation, and diabetes. Discussion: To further examine cognitive health among the MENA aging population, policy changes are needed to identify this group that is often absent from research because of their federal classification as non-Hispanic Whites.

Link to Published Version