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

  • Psychosocial Aspects (KK Hood and S Jaser, Section Editors)
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Abstract

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.

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

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

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Psychosocial Aspects

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Wagner, J., Berthold, S.M., Buckley, T. et al. Diabetes Among Refugee Populations: What Newly Arriving Refugees Can Learn From Resettled Cambodians. Curr Diab Rep 15, 56 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11892-015-0618-1

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