Migration and the Risk Transition: The Influence of Time on Health of Migrant Communities in Belgium
Patrick Deboosere, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Sylvie Gadeyne, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Immigrant health is often considered the result of selection mechanisms and acculturation. A central issue is the influence of time. Several studies tried to evaluate immigrant health by duration of stay in the host country, but the time dimension is very difficult to assess. We are not only confronted with the classical problems of age and birth cohort with their dual significance, but also with the concept of migration cohorts. Immigration itself is much more than an event occurring in space with migrants moving between countries. Immigrants can in many cases be considered as time travellers, not only coming from another country, but also from another stage in the epidemiological transition of humanity. Health questions of the Belgian 2001 population census linked to register data on date of arrival and mortality are used to explore the change in health in migration cohorts and to formulate some hypotheses.