First-generation immigrants say they feel less healthy, move around less and suffer more from anxiety, according to a survey by researchers from the University of Ghent, published on Thursday in De Morgen daily. The survey, financed by the Flemish anti-cancer organisation ‘Kom op tegen Kanker’, is the first to focus on the influence of diversity on health levels in Belgium, based on data from the national Health Survey. The figures are for 2013 since more recent data does not exist for the moment.
Results show that a context of migration usually has a negative impact on health, “although there are major differences among migrants,” explained Professor Sara Willems of UGent. “However, you cannot call it a ‘cultural problem’, far from it. Education and income levels have a very important impact,” she added.
First-generation immigrants, in particular, feel less healthy. They are more liable to suffer from anxiety disorders and they say they lack social support and physical activity. Moreover, this group is more likely not to have a general practitioner, goes less often to the dentist and is more often in an emergency situation.
Kom op tegen Kanker is now looking at ways to translate these results into action.