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Kids with foreign parents less healthy: study

Published: 21 Nov 2012 10:33 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Nov 2012 10:33 GMT+01:00

Children with one or both parents born outside of Sweden have an increased risk of ill health than their peers with Swedish parents, according to a new study from the Mid Sweden University (Mittuniversitetet).

“Our results strengthen the arguments for an increased awareness on the health of children with a foreign background, as well as girls’ health in general,” said Heidi Carlerby, A PhD student behind the report, in a statement.

The study showed that girls with both parents born outside of Sweden have a 27 percent increased risk of developing symptoms like headaches, stomach pain and depression compared to girls with two Swedish parents.

Boys with a “mixed” background; with one Swedish and one foreign parent, were three times as likely to suffer from bad health than boys with two Swedish parents.

“Some of the differences in health and well-being can be explained by gender, parental background as well as the different financial circumstances of the families,” said Carlerby.

Three in ten children with foreign parents came from families with a low level of tangible assets, which are measured through access to car, computer, own room and holidays with the family. The corresponding number among children with Swedish parents was less than one in ten.

“It shows the need for health-promoting efforts in school through activities and programmes focusing on the social consequences of foreign heritage and the material assets of the family,” Carlerby said.

The aim of the study was to analyse the social factors of health among girls and boys in Sweden, with focus on the parents’ background. 11,972 children in year 5 (11 years old), 7 and 9 took part in a survey on three occasions, of which some 20 percent were of foreign parentage.

An additional survey from 2011 was also included, which encompassed 1,527 children in years 6-9 from Östersund municipality in northern Sweden.

Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:05 November 21, 2012 by Rishonim
Balderdash. What a massive amount of absurdity and malicious divisive propaganda. Sounds like something right out of Der Stürmer. This study shows ignorance at the lowest level as it implies that by definition, parent born outside of Sweden are less educated and with lower financial attributes.
12:53 November 21, 2012 by JulieLou40
I was going to say piffle and balderdash too, but then I thought maybe it is something to do with the fact that the immigrants like me, for example, find it so hard to get jobs. And therefore there is a knock-on effect on the standard of living for the family unit.
13:11 November 21, 2012 by riose
"Three in ten children with foreign parents came from families with a low level of tangible assets [...] The corresponding number among children with Swedish parents was less than one in ten."

I love studies with no control group.

It reminds me of the joke "spiders with no legs are deaf".
14:49 November 21, 2012 by Programmeny
"... increased risk of developing symptoms like headaches, stomach pain and depression..."

WOW! That's some serious health risks right there!
15:21 November 21, 2012 by Snoopy!
What a load of codswallop ! and certainly smacks of xenophobia
16:13 November 21, 2012 by Grokh
this could be true to some extent.

ive met a lot of people in sfi, mostly asylum seekers that come from the middle of nowhere and have very basic form of education, as well as those who have high education.

but im sure that with the high amounts of asylum seekers sweden gets, some are bound to have low education which can be reflected on their children.

and thats a very obvious thing to happen. and will affect the children in question.
16:18 November 21, 2012 by ugg
Wait a minute what's the date today?
18:28 November 21, 2012 by John Gossip
Blue eyes, blonde hair, super-race! Where have I heard that before?
19:59 November 21, 2012 by martin8558
WOW this hog wash i can see if one of the parents are from a third world country with no health care but to say it for all is a bunch of bull
20:27 November 21, 2012 by djmarko
propaganda machine, stupid survey!!
22:26 November 21, 2012 by matona1
Heidi Carlerby, A PhD student behind the report, look for somwthing good, kid with mis=xed parent are stronger than the blue eye white hair zombie
23:35 November 21, 2012 by adiman83
@matona1 that's true actually, you're right. Children with mixed genetic heritage really are stronger. Having parents from two different populations means that the child is not predisposed to the same genetic disorders that can affect the populations from which his parents come from.

For example, I've heard that "pure" swedes have a certain sensitivity to sunlight and they get sunburns quite easily due to their very white skin. But a kid with a foreign parent will most likely not have this sensitivity.

So kids with foreign parents are in reality HEALTHIER
04:30 November 22, 2012 by Attila the Hen
@adiman Yeah, and they sparkle in sunlight too :D
13:02 November 22, 2012 by Freedaysaregooddays
Man look at some of you people. I'm an immigrant myself, but some of you are so anti-Swedish it is not funny. Nowhere in this article does it say that having blond hair and blues eyes correlates to having good health. Nowhere. And there is no reason other than the typical anti-Swedish sentiment that usually exists with a lot of immigrants, for you to imply that this study is biased against non-Swedes. There may be a plethora of reasons as to why people from certain non-Swedish backgrounds might appear to suffer from poor health. My wife works in the medical field and she tells me that in her line of work immigrants ARE more likely to come to her for what appears to be less serious reasons than Swedish people. So one of those reasons immigrants may appear to be less healthy could be as simple as cultural reasons - which has nothing to do with genetics or race - but some of you people would not know that, because you are quick to attack Swedish people by calling them "racists" every chance you get.
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