Western lifestyles pose risk to migrants’ health, says WHO report

The first report on refugee and migrant health in the west by WHO Europesuggests new arrivals are at risk of falling ill while in transit to another country, but face further dangers when they arrive in a host nation because of unhealthy living conditions, poor diet and the obesity epidemic.‘I thought they were killing me’: NHS trust halted asylum seeker’s cancer treatment

The report on the health of refugees and migrants in the WHO European region says they do not transmit diseases or place a disproportionate burden on healthcare systems, and calls on countries to make decisions about providing services to migrants based on facts, rather than politics or prejudice.

According to the report, international migrants make up 10% (90.7 million) of the population in the WHO European region. Just over 7% are refugees. “In some European countries, citizens estimate that there are three or four times more migrants than there really are,” it said.

Evidence collected by the WHO suggests migrants and refugees are less likely to be affected by non-contagious diseases such as cancer, stroke or heart disease, but their risk of developing such illnesses increases when they move to more developed countries, particularly as they are often living in poor conditions.