Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 448–476 | Cite as

Morbidity, Self-Perceived Health and Mortality Among non-Western Immigrants and Their Descendants in Denmark in a Life Phase Perspective

  • Signe Smith Jervelund
  • Sanam Malik
  • Nanna Ahlmark
  • Sarah Fredsted Villadsen
  • Annemette Nielsen
  • Kathrine Vitus
Original Paper


To enable preventive policies to address health inequity across ethnic groups, this review overviews the current knowledge on morbidity, self-perceived health and mortality among non-Western immigrants and their descendants in Denmark. A systematic search in PUBMED, SCOPUS, Embase and Cochrane as well as in national databases was undertaken. The final number of publications included was 45. Adult immigrants had higher morbidity, but lower mortality compared to ethnic Danes. Immigrant children had higher mortality and morbidity compared to ethnic Danes. Immigrants’ health is critical to reach the political goals of integration. Despite non-Western immigrants’ higher morbidity than ethnic Danes, no national strategy targeting immigrants’ health has been implemented. Future research should include elderly immigrants and children, preferably employing a life-course perspective to enhance understanding of parallel processes of societal adaptation and health.


Migrant Health status Mental health Denmark Review 


Author Contributions

Signe Smith Jervelund: Development and implementation of methods, analysis, preparation of manuscript. Sanam Malik: preparation of manuscript, literature search, Nanna Ahlmark: preparation of manuscript, Sarah Fredsted Villadsen: preparation of manuscript. Annemette Nielsen: preparation of manuscript, Kathrine Vitus: analysis, preparation and finalization of manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Signe Smith Jervelund
    • 1
  • Sanam Malik
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nanna Ahlmark
    • 3
  • Sarah Fredsted Villadsen
    • 1
    • 4
  • Annemette Nielsen
    • 5
  • Kathrine Vitus
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Public Health, Section for Health Services Research, Danish Research Centre for Migration, Ethnicity, and Health (MESU)University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Vestegnens Sprog- og KompetencecenterGlostrupDenmark
  3. 3.National Institute of Public Health, Research Programme On Health Promotion and PreventionUniversity of Southern DenmarkCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Public Health, Section for Social MedicineUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  5. 5.Department of Food and Resource Economics, Section for Consumption, Bioethics and GovernanceUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksbergDenmark
  6. 6.Department of Sociology and Social WorkAalborg UniversityCopenhagenDenmark

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