Health-Related Lifestyles Among Migrants in Europe
Migrants experience profound changes in their lifestyle since migration; the mechanisms that underlie the occurrence of risky behaviours are very complex, depending on the interrelation between different cultures and migration histories. The acculturation process can therefore have positive or negative effects on health, as a function of individual and contextual characteristics. Most of the literature shows that longer durations of residence are associated to more unhealthy behaviours, and in particular to an increase in weight mediated by the acquisition of unhealthy diet. An important role in determining lifestyles is also played by socioeconomic factors, with higher socioeconomic positions associated with healthier lifestyles. Unhealthy behaviours are exacerbated by the sense of loneliness and low levels of integration in the host country. Culturally sensitive interventions aimed at facilitating healthy behaviours are crucial to reinforce the positive effects of the acculturation process, while counteracting the possible adverse effects. More inclusion and integration policies, with particular attention to the lower socioeconomic groups, are also needed to partially interrupt the deterioration of health capital that appears already in place in most countries and to prevent future mortality.
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