Introduction: Obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) are highly prevalent among African migrants compared with European descent populations. The underlying reasons still remain a puzzle. Gene-environmental interaction is now seen as a potential plausible factor contributing to the high prevalence of obesity and T2D, but has not yet been investigated. The overall aim of the Research on Obesity and Diabetes among African Migrants (RODAM) project is to understand the reasons for the high prevalence of obesity and T2D among sub-Saharan Africans in diaspora by (1) studying the complex interplay between environment (eg, lifestyle), healthcare, biochemical and (epi)genetic factors, and their relative contributions to the high prevalence of obesity and T2D; (2) to identify specific risk factors within these broad categories to guide intervention programmes and (3) to provide a basic knowledge for improving diagnosis and treatment.
Methods and analysis: RODAM is a multicentre cross-sectional study among homogenous sub-Saharan African participants (ie, Ghanaians) aged >25 years living in rural and urban Ghana, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK (http://rod-am.eu/). Standardised data on the main outcomes, genetic and non-genetic factors are collected in all locations. The aim is to recruit 6250 individuals comprising five subgroups of 1250 individuals from each site. In Ghana, Kumasi and Obuasi (urban stratum) and villages in the Ashanti region (rural stratum) are served as recruitment sites. In Europe, Ghanaian migrants are selected through the municipality or Ghanaian organisations registers.
Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval has been obtained in all sites. This paper gives an overview of the rationale, conceptual framework and methods of the study. The differences across locations will allow us to gain insight into genetic and non-genetic factors contributing to the occurrence of obesity and T2D and will inform targeted intervention and prevention programmes, and provide the basis for improving diagnosis and treatment in these populations and beyond.