Current Diabetes Reports

, 15:56 | Cite as

Diabetes Among Refugee Populations: What Newly Arriving Refugees Can Learn From Resettled Cambodians

  • Julie Wagner
  • S. Megan Berthold
  • Thomas Buckley
  • Sengly Kong
  • Theanvy Kuoch
  • Mary Scully
Psychosocial Aspects (KK Hood and S Jaser, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Psychosocial Aspects


A growing body of literature suggests that cardiometabolic disease generally and type 2 diabetes specifically are problems among refugee groups. This paper reviews rates of cardiometabolic disease and type 2 diabetes among refugees and highlights their unique risk factors including history of malnutrition, psychiatric disorders, psychiatric medications, lifestyle changes toward urbanization and industrialization, social isolation, and a poor profile on the social determinants of health. Promising interventions are presented for preventing and treating diabetes in these groups. Such interventions emphasize well-coordinated medical and mental health care delivered by cross-cultural and multidisciplinary teams including community health workers that are well integrated into the community. Finally, recommendations for service, policy, and research are made. The authors draw on local data and clinical experience of our collective work with Cambodian American refugees whose 30-year trajectory illustrates the consequences of ignoring diabetes and its risk factors in more recent, and soon to be arriving, refugee cohorts.


Refugee Cambodian Diabetes Overweight Obesity Depression Post-traumatic stress 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Julie Wagner, S. Megan Berthold, Thomas Buckley, Sengly Kong, Theanvy Kuoch, and Mary Scully declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Wagner
    • 1
  • S. Megan Berthold
    • 2
  • Thomas Buckley
    • 3
  • Sengly Kong
    • 4
  • Theanvy Kuoch
    • 4
  • Mary Scully
    • 4
  1. 1.University of Connecticut Health CenterFarmingtonUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkUniversity of ConnecticutWest HartfordUSA
  3. 3.School of PharmacyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  4. 4.Khmer Health AdvocatesWest HartfordUSA

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