Background: Migration to high income countries can offer socioeconomic advantages such as improved education, employment opportunities, housing and health care. However, environmental improvements do not necessarily translate into improved health outcomes. It is possible that the unhealthy lifestyles associated with acculturation, characterised by less physical activity and high calorie diets, counteract any potential health advantage. Adoption of such lifestyles may be particularly harmful to South Asians who for a given BMI, have greater adiposity and an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Methods: We compared BMI, fasting and postload glucose and fasting insulin between 5038 Pakistani and 4412 White British women recruited to the Born in Bradford study and examined whether differences varied depending on the woman's, her partner's and their parents' place of birth.
Results: BMI was lower among Pakistani compared to White British women (mean difference -1.12 95%CI -1.43, -0.81) but the difference was markedly greater where the partner was UK born irrespective of the woman's place of birth. Pakistani women had higher fasting and postload glucose (mean difference 0.20 95%CI 0.17, 0.24; 0.37 95%CI 0.28, 0.45) and higher fasting insulin than White British women (mean difference 25.71 95%CI 22.73, 28.69). This difference was greatest when women and their partners were South Asian born.
Conclusions: Our results suggest some changes in health related pregnancy characteristics in response to migration to the UK.
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