Mortality in first- and second-generation immigrants to Sweden diagnosed with type 2 diabetes: a 10 year nationwide cohort study

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Aims/hypothesis: Non-Western immigrants to Europe are at high risk for type 2 diabetes. In this nationwide study including incident cases of type 2 diabetes, the aim was to compare all-cause mortality (ACM) and cause-specific mortality (CSM) rates in first- and second-generation immigrants with native Swedes. Methods: People living in Sweden diagnosed with new-onset pharmacologically treated type 2 diabetes between 2006 and 2012 were identified through the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register. They were followed until 31 December 2016 for ACM and until 31 December 2012 for CSM. Analyses were adjusted for age at diagnosis, sex, socioeconomic status, education, treatment and region. Associations were assessed using Cox regression analysis. Results: In total, 138,085 individuals were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between 2006 and 2012 and fulfilled inclusion criteria. Of these, 102,163 (74.0%) were native Swedes, 28,819 (20.9%) were first-generation immigrants and 7103 (5.1%) were second-generation immigrants with either one or both parents born outside Sweden. First-generation immigrants had lower ACM rate (HR 0.80 [95% CI 0.76, 0.84]) compared with native Swedes. The mortality rates were particularly low in people born in non-Western regions (0.46 [0.42, 0.50]; the Middle East, 0.41 [0.36, 0.47]; Asia, 0.53 [0.43, 0.66]; Africa, 0.47 [0.38, 0.59]; and Latin America, 0.53 [0.42, 0.68]). ACM rates decreased with older age at migration and shorter stay in Sweden. Compared with native Swedes, first-generation immigrants with ≤ 24 years in Sweden (0.55 [0.51, 0.60]) displayed lower ACM rates than those spending >24 years in Sweden (0.92 [0.87, 0.97]). Second-generation immigrants did not have better survival rates than native Swedes but rather displayed higher ACM rates for people with both parents born abroad (1.28 [1.05, 1.56]). Conclusions/interpretation: In people with type 2 diabetes, the lower mortality rate in first-generation non-Western immigrants compared with native Swedes was reduced over time and was equalised in second-generation immigrants. These findings suggest that acculturation to Western culture may impact ACM and CSM in immigrants with type 2 diabetes but further investigation is needed. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].


  • Louise Bennet
  • Ruzan Udumyan
  • Carl Johan Östgren
  • Olov Rolandsson
  • Stefan P.O. Jansson
  • Per Wändell
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Örebro University
  • Linköping University
  • Umeå University
  • Uppsala universitet
  • Karolinska Institute

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Endokrinologi och diabetes


Sidor (från-till)95-108
Antal sidor14
Utgåva nummer1
Tidigt onlinedatum2020
StatusPublished - 2021 jan
Peer review utfördJa