Migration from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to Europe is increasing. The limited evidence suggests that the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and obesity among SSA migrants is higher than among their SSA peers living in Africa and European host populations. The reasons for these observations are only poorly understood, but may involve migration-related changes in lifestyle, genetic predisposition as well as pe¬culiarities in perceptions and practises. Contrasting the increasing number of African migrants in Europe, the health status and needs of these populations remain largely unexamined, and have only insufficiently been integrated into national plans, policies and strategies. Implementation of tailored intervention programmes among migrants implic¬itly requires the identification and the disentanglement of environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors modifying T2D and obesity risk.
The RODAM project addresses these fundamental health issues among a homogeneous, and one of the largest SSA migrant groups in Europe (i.e. Ghanaians). RODAM thus aims to contribute to the understanding of the complex interplay between environment, lifestyle, (epi)genetic as well as social factors in T2D and obesity among SSA immigrants, and to identify specific risk factors to guide intervention and prevention and to provide a basis for improving diagnosis and treatment.
In a multi-centre study, 6,250 Ghanaians aged >25 years will be re¬cruited in rural and urban Ghana, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. The differences in prevalence rates within Ghana on the one hand, and three European countries on the other, will allow us to unravel environmental, lifestyle and (epi)genetic as well as social factors in relation to T2D and obesity.
The proposed study will generate relevant results that will ultimately guide intervention programmes and will provide a basis for improving diagnosis and treatment among SSA migrants in Europe as well as in their counterparts in Africa and beyond.