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Diabetics and Migration

Overseas born Australians from the Middle East and North Africa (men 3.6, women 2.4) experience much higher prevalence of Diabetes than Australian born and migrants from Europe. Lowest incidence was for men from Southern, Eastern and Central Europe (0.85) and women from UK and Ireland (0.71). These are results reported in Bulletin No 9 from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (www.aihw.gov.au)released on 9 October.

What is less clear from the study is why these differences occur. Some possible explanations are given including:

* Genetic differences linked to diabetes

* Inherent hunter-gatherer metabolisms which malfunction with more constant supply of high fat and caloric foods.

* The study could be skewed by a select effect from the length of stay in Australia and the fact that, on arrival, migrants tend to have better average health condition. i.e. some could adjust differently to local cultural diets over time.

Posted Wednesday, 29 October 2003

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