Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Italian immigrants live longer

07.01.2013
Immigrants from Italy live longer than members of their host country. However, the risk of mortality is considerably higher for their offspring than their Swiss counterparts.
More exposed to the influences of the host country, the second generation detaches itself from the healthy southern lifestyle and the close-knit family network and has poorer educational opportunities than locals. Men are affected more strongly by this than women, as a study conducted by the University of Zurich’s Institute of Social and Preventative Medicine reveals.

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.

Literature:
Tarnutzer S, Bopp M for the Swiss National Cohort Study Group. Healthy migrants but unhealthy offspring? A retrospective cohort study among Italians in Switzerland. BMC Public Health 2012,12:1104. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-1104
Contacts:
lic. phil. Silvan Tarnutzer
Institute of Social and Preventative Medicine
University of Zurich
E-mail: silvan.tarnutzer@ifspm.uzh.ch
Phone: +41 44 634 48 57
Dr. phil. II Matthias Bopp MPH
Institute of Social and Preventative Medicine
University of Zurich
E-mail: bopp@ifspm.uzh.ch
Phone: +41 44 634 46 14

Nathalie Huber | idw
Further information:
http://www.uzh.ch

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study suggests oysters offer hot spot for reducing nutrient pollution

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

17.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

World first for reading digitally encoded synthetic molecules

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>