Migration and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Among Ghanaian Populations in Europe: The RODAM Study (Research on Obesity and Diabetes Among African Migrants)

Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2017 Nov;10(11):e004013. doi: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.117.004013.


Background: For migrant populations from sub-Saharan Africa, adverse cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors have been observed to be higher than found in their home country-based counterparts or among the host populations in high-income countries. Differences in absolute overall CVD risk, however, remain largely unexplained. We, therefore, predicted the differences in 10-year CVD risk among sub-Saharan African migrants (Ghanaians) living in 3 European cities and Ghana.

Methods and results: For 3864 subjects aged 40 to 70 years from the multicenter RODAM study (Research on Obesity and Diabetes Among African Migrants) conducted among Ghanaian adults residing in rural and urban Ghana and 3 European cities (Amsterdam, Berlin, and London), 10-year risk of CVD was estimated using the Pooled Cohort Equations with estimates ≥7.5% defining high CVD risk. Logistic regressions were used to determine the association of migration on CVD risk. The proportion with CVD risk ≥7.5% among Ghanaian men was 34.7% in rural Ghana, 45.4% in urban Ghana, 53.9% in Amsterdam, 61.0% in Berlin, and 52.2% in London. Compared with rural Ghana, CVD risk was significantly increased for Ghanaian men living in Berlin (adjusted odds ratio, 2.80; 95% confidence interval, 1.76-4.45) and Amsterdam (1.88; 1.25-2.84). Increased risk observed for men was largely not seen for women. CVD risk increased with longer stay in Europe.

Conclusions: Knowledge about predictors of increased CVD risk among sub-Saharan African migrants in Europe and nonmigrants in urban centers will inform and support targeted health care and interventions to these populations.

Keywords: Ghana; cardiovascular diseases; human migration; risk factors; transients and migrants.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Ethnicity*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Ghana / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Transients and Migrants*