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Crossroads to Health Project

Understanding Health behaviours in Immigrants, specifically the risk of obesity, diabetes and chronic illness migrants face

Migration entails major lifestyle changes, with implications for social support, stress, new social and cultural norms, and diminished social status. Immigrants in the U.S. tend to have limited access to health care and preventative care, but they tend to be in better health than native-born individuals on arrival.

Deteriorating health among immigrants is most marked in terms of obesity and diabetes. The origins of increasing risks of obesity and diabetes among immigrants are not well understood. One leading explanation focuses on the adoption of obesogenic products, behaviors, and preferences that are common in the U.S.


From 2015

Our collaborations


CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program


International Rescue Committee


World Relief Atlanta

Georgia Center for Diabetes Translation Research

Our Goal

The goal of our research is to identify ways in which refugees assimilate into their new communities in ways that may affect their risks of obesity and diabetes. Refugees are an especially disadvantaged immigrant group, having lower levels of education, fewer social networks, having been exposed to dramatic events, being in poorer overall health.



The intention of Crossroads to Health is to carry out data collection in different migration environments in order to better understand the factors which may affect rising obesity rates in immigrants. Three studies carried out for the Crossroads to Health project involve the following settings:

  1.  The investigation with international university students residing in the Southeast of the United States,

  2. The investigation on refugee adolescents living in the Southeast of the United States

  3. The investigation on migrants in Belgium.



Group 1

International University Students

Group 2

Migrants in Atlanta

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Group 3

Migrants in Belgium

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