Nutrition and health among migrants in The Netherlands

Public Health Nutr. 2001 Apr;4(2B):659-64. doi: 10.1079/phn2001149.


Objective: this paper aims to give a broad overview of published data on nutrition and health among migrants in the Netherlands, as well as data on determinants of health.

Results and conclusions: Depending on the definition, 9 to 17% of the population belongs to the group 'migrants' and this proportion is expected to grow in the coming years. Roughly 2/3 of migrants are of the first generation and on average, they are younger than the Dutch population. Relatively few data concerning the health status of migrants are available. The diet of migrants showed both positive (macronutrients) and negative (micronutrients) differences with the general Dutch diet. The risk of overweight was high among both children and adult women, and the data suggest a higher risk for Turkish and Moroccan groups than for Dutch groups. The importance of health determinants, such as smoking, alcohol use and physical and social environment, was different for migrants than for the Dutch population; however, there were also differences between ethnic groups. The limited data on morbidity for migrants suggest higher risks than for the indigenous population. The same holds for mortality data, especially for the younger age groups. In general, the data that are available suggest that the health status of migrants was less favourable than that of the indigenous population. However, there were also differences between the various groups of migrants. The lower socio-economic position of migrant groups partly explained the differences in health status. Nevertheless, a study among Turkish people indicated that their health status was lower than that of Dutch people of comparable socioeconomic status.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / ethnology*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morbidity
  • Morocco / ethnology
  • Mortality
  • Netherlands
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Social Class
  • Transients and Migrants
  • Turkey / ethnology