Objectives International migration is rapidly increasing worldwide. However, the health status of migrants differs across groups. Information regarding health at arrival and subsequent periodic follow-up in the host country is necessary to develop equitable health care to immigrants. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of the length of stay in Norway and other sociodemographic variables on the prevalence of multimorbidity across immigrant groups (refugees, labour immigrants, family reunification immigrants and education immigrants).
Methods This is a register-based study merging data from the National Population Register and the Norwegian Health Economics Administration database. Sociodemographic variables and multimorbidity across the immigrant groups were compared using Persons’ chi-square test and anova as appropriate. Several binary logistic regression models were conducted.
Results Multimorbidity was significantly lower among labour immigrants (OR (95% CI) 0.23 (0.21–0.26) and 0.45 (0.40–0.50) for men and women, respectively) and education immigrants (OR (95% CI) 0.40 (0.32–0.50) and 0.38 (0.33–0.43)) and higher among refugees (OR (95% CI) 1.67 (1.57–1.78) and 1.83 (1.75–1.92)), compared to family reunification immigrants. For all groups, multimorbidity doubled after a five-year stay in Norway. Effect modifications between multimorbidity and sociodemographic characteristics across the different reasons for migration were observed.
Conclusions Multimorbidity was highest among refugees at arrival but increased rapidly among labour immigrants, especially females. Health providers need to ensure tailor-made preventive and management strategies that take into account pre-migration and post-migration experiences for immigrants in order to address their needs.
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