April 29, 2016
Refugees arriving in Sweden between 1987 and 1991 who resettled in more economically deprived neighborhoods were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who were settled in more affluent communities, according to an analysis of long-term data.
“During a wave of immigration 30 years ago, the Swedish government dispersed incoming refugees across the country,” Rita Hamad, MD, MPH, MS, a family physician, epidemiologist and instructor at Stanford University School of Medicine, told Endocrine Today. “This created an unintended natural experiment, in which refugees were almost randomly assigned to live in neighborhoods with different levels of deprivation. We find that those who were settled in high-deprivation neighborhoods were 15% more likely to develop diabetes than those who were settled in low-deprivation neighborhoods. This speaks to the potentially important health effects of neighborhood factors, such as employment opportunities, psychosocial resources, food availability and walkability.”