Longitudinal study of diabetic differences between international migrants and natives among the Asian population

Heng Piao, Jae Moon Yun, Aesun Shin, Belong Cho

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Migration presents a substantial social and public health issue. However, it is unclear whether diabetes is worse among Asian migrants than natives of South Korea over time. This longitudinal study investigated the nationwide population, including 2,680,495 adults aged 20 years and older (987,214 Asian migrants and 1,693,281 natives), who received health check-ups, using the Korean National Health Insurance Service data (2009-2015). Joinpoint regression was used to estimate the annual percentage change of diabetes, and multivariable logistic regression was used to examine differences in incident type 2 diabetes between Asian migrants and natives adjusting for age, sex, economic status, body mass index, smoking status, any alcohol use, and physical activity. The age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes increased among native men (from 8.8% in 2009 to 9.7% in 2015, APC=1.64, p<0.05) compared to Asian migrant men, and the age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes increased among native women (from 6.0% in 2009 to 6.7% in 2015, APC=1.88, p<0.05) compared to Asian migrant women. In the multivariate analyses, Asian migrants were less likely to get type 2 diabetes than natives (odds ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.78 to 0.86) between the first and last health check-ups. However, the odds ratio for developing type 2 diabetes was 1.15 (95% CI, 1.10 to 1.20) among low-income levels compared to high-income levels, regardless of whether they were Asian migrants or natives. The results could help to establish a new strategy for prevention, treatment, and management of diabetes among the Asian population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-118
Number of pages9
JournalBiomolecules and Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020



  • Asian migrant
  • Diabetes
  • National Health Insurance Service data
  • Native
  • South Korea

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