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Study highlights poor health of immigrants

Immigrants are less healthy than the average Swiss but many do not seek proper treatment using Switzerland’s health care system, a study has found.

This content was published on October 4, 2011 - 11:01
swissinfo.ch and agencies

Around 3,000 immigrants from Turkey, Portugal, Serbia, Kosovo, Somalia and Sri Lanka were interviewed about the state of their health, their need for medical care and general health know-how.

Factors such as level of education played a part in their wellness. The better educated a migrant is, the better their health. Newly arrived immigrants were also healthier than those who had been in the country for longer.

Immigrants also smoked more than the average Swiss but drank less alcohol.

It was the second such study on the health of immigrants to be carried out by Swiss health and immigration authorities.

The first study in 2004 showed  most migrants were clearly in a worse physical and psychological state than Swiss. But no systematic difference was picked up in the use of health care.

The national migration health programme has the goal of improving the health of the immigrant population in Switzerland.

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