Open Access Open Badges Research article

Health-related quality of life in migrant preschool children

Jardena Puder1*, Ana Margarida Pinto12*, Antoine Bonvin3, Patrick Bodenman4, Simone Munsch5, Susi Kriemler6 and Pedro Marques-Vidal78*

Author Affiliations

1 Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

2 Institute of Preventive Medicine; Medical Faculty of Lisbon, University of Lisbon, Avenida Professor Egas Moniz, Lisbon, 1649-028, Portugal

3 Institute of Sport Sciences, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

4 Policlinique Médicale Universitaire, Unité des populations Vulnérables (UPV), Rue du Bugnon 44, Lausanne, CH-1011, Switzerland

5 Department of Psychology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland

6 Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (STPH), University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

7 Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), University of Lausanne, Route de la Corniche 10, Lausanne, Switzerland

8 Institut Universitaire de Médecine Sociale et Préventive, Bâtiment Biopôle 2, Route de la Corniche 10, Lausanne, CH-1010, Switzerland

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:384  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-384

Published: 25 April 2013



Minority groups have a lower health-related quality of life (HRQOL), but there is little information if this finding also applies to children. In this study, we compared HRQOL between young children with and without migrant parents.


Two cross-sectional studies of culturally diverse preschool populations in Switzerland: Ballabeina (40 preschools, 258 girls and 232 boys aged 4 to 6 years) and Youp’là Bouge (58 child care centers, 453 girls and 522 boys aged 2 to 4 years). Most children were born in Switzerland (Ballabeina: 92.3%; Youp’là Bouge: 93.7%). Number of migrant parents was considered as the main exposure. HRQOL was measured using the 23-item Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory.


Children of migrant parents had a significantly lower HRQOL total score (mean ± SD, Ballabeina: 84.2 ± 9.1; 82.7 ± 9.6 and 81.7 ± 11.7 for children with none, one or two migrant parents, respectively; Youp’là Bouge: 83.8 ± 8.6; 82.9 ± 9.5; 80.7 ± 11.7, all p < 0.05). Similar results were found in Ballabeina and Youp’là Bouge for social, school and physical functioning (all p < 0.05), but not for emotional functioning. The differences in HRQOL measures were partly mediated by children’s place of birth, parental education, paternal occupational level, children’s BMI, screen time and physical activity in one study (Ballabeina), but not in the other (Youp’là Bouge).


In preschoolers, children of migrant parents have lower HRQOL than children of non-migrant parents. These differences are only partly mediated by other sociocultural characteristics or lifestyle behavior. These families may need assistance to prevent further inequalities.

Quality of life; Children; Migrants; Switzerland; PedsQL; HRQOL; Ballabeina; Youp’là Bouge