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Homo. 2008;59(6):439-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jchb.2006.08.009. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

Two-stage study (1990-2002) of North African immigrants in Italy.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica Sperimentale, Università di Bologna, Italy.


The objective of the present study was to investigate the psycho-social health and weight status of two samples of North African immigrants measured in 1990 (166 males) and in 2000-2002 (173 males and females), respectively. In addition to the cross-sectional study, we conducted a repeated study on a sub-sample of 21 males measured both in 1990 and in 2000-2002. The study was carried out in Italian health and care dedicated centres spread all over the Bologna administrative areas, that belong to the AUSL (Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale, Administrative Local Health Unit). To evaluate the health and weight status, we calculated the body mass index (BMI) and measured systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Questionnaires were used to assess the psycho-social status. The mean BMI increased significantly (p<0.05) after immigration, as the prevalence of overweight (BMI>25) was higher after a decade. There was a significant increase (p<0.001) in stress-related factors and in the desire to return home. We also recorded an increase in weight disorders, as the length of time since immigration was an important risk factor for overweight. Therefore, immigrants may have a high risk of obesity-related co-morbidities. However, the factors related to malnutrition and stress had only weak effects on blood pressure.

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