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Open Access Debate

Prevention among immigrants: the example of Germany

Jacob Spallek123*, Hajo Zeeb23 and Oliver Razum1

Author affiliations

1 University of Bielefeld, Department of Epidemiology & International Public Health, School of Public Health, PO Box 10 01 31, D-33501 Bielefeld, Germany

2 University Mainz, University Medical Center, Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics (IMBEI), Department of Epidemiology, Obere Zahlbacher Str. 69, D-55131 Mainz, Germany

3 University of Bremen, Bremen Institute for Prevention Research and Social Medicine (BIPS), Linzer Straße 10, D-28359 Bremen, Germany

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2010, 10:92  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-92

Published: 24 February 2010

Abstract

Background

A large and increasing part of the European population has a history of migration. Germany, for example, is home to about 15 million people with migrant background, which amounts to 19% of its population. Migrants may have differences in their lifestyle, health beliefs and risk factors compared to the autochthonous populations.

Discussion

As for example studies on children's participation in routine prevention activities have shown, these differences can have a relevant impact on the access of migrants to the health care system and are likely to lower their participation in prevention programs compared to the autochthonous population. To increase the uptake of prevention programs, barriers to access must be identified and approaches to reduce them must be developed.

Summary

Taking the example of Germany, a need exists for prevention programs that include (migrant sensitive) and specifically address (migrant specific) migrants. These should be of sufficient scale, evidence-based, sustainable and evaluated at regular intervals.