BACKGROUND: The potential effect of migration on increasing cardiometabolic risk factors remains partially understood. We aim to synthesize the evidence comparing the burden of diabetes and adiposity of migrating populations in Europe, with that of their country of origin.
METHODS: We conducted a scoping literature review. We searched PubMed for studies investigating the effect of migration on diabetes or adiposity outcomes among migrants in countries from the European Union or the United Kingdom compared to the population in the country of origin. Studies were qualitatively synthesized in evidence tables and the demographic characteristics, study design, risk factors investigated, and outcomes were quantitatively summarized using measures of central tendency.
FINDINGS: Of 1175 abstracts retrieved, 28 studies were eligible. Most of the studies included migrating populations residing in Western (50%), Northern (39%), and Southern Europe (11%) originating from countries in Africa (46%), Asia (29%), or European overseas (25%) regions of which 85% were classified as low-middle-income countries. Most of the studies (93%) had a cross-sectional design. The median number of individuals in the country of origin was greater [917; IQR: 231-1378] than in the receiving country [249; 150-883]. Thirty-five percent of the studies investigated migration as an independent risk factor, whereas 28% contextualized migration into lifestyle changes. The majority of the studies (57%) reported both diabetes and adiposity outcomes. Within the limited evidence available, controversial results were found as some studies showed poorer outcomes for the migrating populations, while others showed the opposite.
CONCLUSION: Studies assessing the impact of migration by comparing migrating populations and the population of origin on diabetes and adiposity outcomes have gained interest. So far, the available evidence is highly heterogeneous to inform public health strategies in the receiving countries. We recommend further research including a more robust methodology and in-depth characterization of the migrant populations.
- Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology
- Cross-Sectional Studies
- Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology
- Transients and Migrants