Exploring the Experiences of West African Immigrants Living with Type 2 Diabetes in the UK

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Sep 20;16(19):3516. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16193516.


The increasing prevalence and poorer management of Type 2 diabetes among West African immigrants in the UK is a public health concern. This research explored the experiences of West African immigrants in the management of Type 2 diabetes in the UK using a constructivist grounded theory approach. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with thirty-four West African immigrants living with Type 2 diabetes in the London area. Fifteen male and nineteen female adult West African immigrants with age range from 33-82 years participated in the study. Participants were recruited from five diabetes support groups and community settings. Initial, focused and theoretical coding, constant comparison and memos were used to analyse collected data. Three concepts emerged: Changing dietary habits composed of participants' experiences in meeting dietary recommendations, improving physical activity concerned with the experience of reduced physical activity since moving to the UK and striving to adapt which focus on the impact of migration changes in living with Type 2 diabetes in the UK. These address challenges that West African immigrants experience in the management of Type 2 diabetes in the UK. The findings of this research provide a better understanding of the influencing factors and can be used to improve the support provided for West Africans living with Type 2 diabetes in the UK, presenting a deeper understanding of socio-cultural factors that contribute to supporting individuals from this population.

Keywords: diabetes management; dietary habits; immigrants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa, Western / ethnology
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology*
  • Diet / ethnology*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • London
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United Kingdom