Strengthening the evidence on migration and chronic diseases in Italy

WHO/Sara Barragán

Presentation of the report “Chronic diseases and migrants in Italy” at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, Italy.

On 18 May 2015, the WHO/Europe Public Health Aspects of Migration in Europe (PHAME) project, in collaboration with the University of Cà Foscari in Venice, Italy, and the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS), launched a report on immigration and chronic diseases in Italy. The report seeks to contribute to the understanding of the complexity of healthy behaviours in migrant populations, specifically in the area of noncommunicable diseases.

The report uses data from the Italian Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System (PASSI). From 2008 to 2013, more than 230 000 immigrants (aged 18–69 years) living in Italy were interviewed by local Italian health units and surveyed using this system. Data were collected mainly on tobacco and alcohol consumption, physical activity, cancer screening and nutrition. This data will facilitate discussion among key local, regional and national stakeholders in Italy about the health status of migrants and the accessibility of programmes for the prevention of health risks among this population.

The report emphasizes:

  • the increasing complexity of immigration and health;
  • the necessity of confronting differences in beliefs, behaviours and attitudes as factors that may influence health practices, health promotion and prevention activities; and
  • the need to recognize positive health behaviours of migrant populations.


The launch of the report at the University Ca' Foscari was attended by a wide audience, responding to the multisectoral nature of migrant health, whose competences fall under the responsibility of several sectors in the country. Participants included experts from the Ministry of Health, ISS, the Ministry of Interior, parliamentarians from the Health Commission and Foreign Affairs Commission, regional and local health authorities and academia.