Italian immigrants live longer than Swiss people but opposite is true in second generation

Italian immigrants live longer than the Swiss people

Researchers have found that the Italian immigrants live longer than the residents of Switzerland but their offsprings have more chances of mortality than the Swiss people.

This research has been published online in the journal BMC Public Health.

Researchers have found that although the Italian immigrants have usually low school education and below-average income but there is 10% reduced mortality risk in them than the people who were born in Switzerland. Younger Italians are stronger than the older Italians in having a reduced mortality chances. Although there is greater commonness of smoking and overweight people and poor control of health in Italy as compared to the Switzerland but it is thought to be counteracted by the Mediterranean diet, i.e. the frequent consumption of fish, fruit, vegetables and olive oil, and probably the distinctive social network. Furthermore, the first author of the study also pointed the risk of lower mortality to the “healthy migrant effect”, which assumes that only healthy and bold people migrated and weak people either didn’t migrated or after migration return back to their country in illness.

On the other hand, researchers have found that the offsprings of the Italians born in Switzerland had 16% more chances of mortality than local people.

“Presumably as a result of the double burden of poorer educational opportunities and a more unfavorable lifestyle,” co-author Matthias Bopp, said in a statement. Interestingly, women are found to be less affected by this risk. “Due to their large number and on average younger age, the male offspring of Italian immigrants constitutes a special target group for prevention and the promotion of health,” concludes Tarnutzer.

Researchers are of the opinion that further work is needed in this regard.

They concluded, “Future investigation of health behavior and cause-specific mortality is needed to better understand different mortality risks. Such insights will facilitate adequate prevention and health promotion efforts.”


Tarnutzer, S., & Bopp, M. (2012). Healthy migrants but unhealthy offspring? a retrospective cohort study among Italians in Switzerland BMC Public Health, 12 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-110

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