The impact of migration on cardiovascular disease and its risk factors among people of Indian origin

Panniyammakal Jeemon, Sutapa Neogi, Deepak Bhatnagar, Kennedy J. Cruickshank, Dorairaj Prabhakaran

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The overall burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to grow in both developed and developing countries. The expected rate of increase in CVD in developing countries in the next two decades is likely to be almost twice that in the developed countries. Furthermore, Indians tend to have premature CVD, at least a decade or so earlier than their counterparts in the developed countries and also have higher case fatality rate. It is becoming increasingly apparent that rapid transition of lifestyle in the era of globalization can have a significant impact on health, in particular the incidence of CVD risk factors and related events. Studying the impact of migration on CVD and its risk factors is helpful in understanding the lifestyle induced or ethnic differences in the relative incidence of CVD in different populations. In this article we systematically review migration-related studies on the Indian population with respect to CVD and discuss the relative importance of these findings in the prevention of CVD in this population. The review summarizes that the different rates of CVD in various ethnic groups represent a complex interaction of classical and novel cardiovascular risk factors in varying environments. However, a significant proportion of the excess risk of CVD in Indians of South Asian origin is explained by environmental, nutritional and lifestyle factors. It is important to validate the threshold levels for all conventional risk factors in this population and future work is necessary to understand the precise environmental mechanisms and possible genetic interactions underlying the increased CVD risk among South Asians.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)378-384
    Number of pages7
    JournalCurrent Science
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Ethnic groups
    • Lifestyle
    • Migration
    • Risk factors


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