Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Italian immigrants in Switzerland live longer

Date:
January 7, 2013
Source:
University of Zurich
Summary:
Although immigrants from Italy and their offspring form one of the largest demographic groups in Switzerland, there are hardly any studies on their state of health and risk of mortality. Researchers have now calculated unbiased mortality risks for people with an Italian migrant background.

Although immigrants from Italy and their offspring form one of the largest demographic groups in Switzerland, there are hardly any studies on their state of health and risk of mortality. In a first for Switzerland, Silvan Tarnutzer and Matthias Bopp from the University of Zurich's Institute of Social and Preventative Medicine calculated unbiased mortality risks for people with an Italian migrant background.

Immigrants from Italy live longer than Swiss people

Compared to Swiss people born in Switzerland, immigrant Italians exhibit a mortality risk that is roughly ten percent lower. Younger male Italians especially fair better than the Swiss, although the differences become increasingly smaller the older they are. At first glance, this finding is astonishing as Italian immigrants often only have a low school education and below-average income -- both factors associated with higher risks of mortality. The greater prevalence of smoking and overweight people and poorer assessment of one's own health in Italy compared to Switzerland also point in the same direction. On a behavioral level, this is merely counteracted by the Mediterranean diet -- the frequent consumption of fish, fruit, vegetables and olive oil -- and the distinctive social network. First author of the study Silvan Tarnutzer thus assumes that the lower risks of mortality can primarily be put down to the so-called "healthy migrant effect," according to which particularly healthy and bold people often migrate while weaker and ill people do not even start looking for a job abroad in the first place or, in the event of illness, return to their country of origin.

Next generations at greater risk of mortality

As far as the offspring of migrants born in Switzerland are concerned, however, this head start disappears. The lifestyle of the host country influences Italians from subsequent generations during their personal development and they detach themselves from the healthy southern lifestyle and close-knit family network. For instance, Italians born in Switzerland display a 16 percent greater risk of mortality than locals. "Presumably as a result of the double burden of poorer educational opportunities and a more unfavorable lifestyle," says co-author Matthias Bopp. Interestingly, women seem to be affected by this unfavorable risk constellation to a lesser degree. "Due to their large number and on average younger age, the male offspring of Italian immigrants constitutes a special target group for prevention and the promotion of health," concludes Tarnutzer.

Background:

Many immigrants from Italy have a residence in Switzerland and Italy, which means that deaths abroad are often not registered in Switzerland. This leads to an underestimation of the actual mortality risks.

By using the "Swiss National Cohort," a combination of data from the 1990 census and the death and foreigner register from 1990 and 2008, however, Tarnutzer and Bopp were able to avoid this under-registration. In doing so, they distinguished between the immigrant generation and subsequent generations born in Switzerland.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Silvan Tarnutzer, Matthias Bopp. Healthy migrants but unhealthy offspring? a retrospective cohort study among Italians in Switzerland. BMC Public Health, 2012; 12 (1): 1104 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-1104

Cite This Page:

University of Zurich. "Italian immigrants in Switzerland live longer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107082218.htm>.
University of Zurich. (2013, January 7). Italian immigrants in Switzerland live longer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107082218.htm
University of Zurich. "Italian immigrants in Switzerland live longer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107082218.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins