Sommali Women and Diabetes

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Since the early 2000s, Maine has seen quite a substantial rise in immigrant and refugee population growth. To put it into perspective, the total population in Portland, Maine between 2000 to 2010 had increased only by 3% while the racial and ethnic minority population in Portland had increased by 80% (____). Maine has typically admitted a large percentage of its refugees from heavily Muslim populated countries like Somalia and Iraq but as of recent, with the immigrant policies and bans being enforced by the Trump administration, it has significantly lessened the numbers of people entering America overall. Nonetheless, with migration brings an increased susceptibility to chronic diseases like diabetes, especially for Somali women.

Somali women The relationship between migration and diabetes can be examined through the refugee and immigrant experience of acculturation to their host country. And as a result, health-related factors like obesity, dietary acculturation, physical inactivity and lack of access or utilization of modern health services become strong causal determinants for this public health issue. On top of the predisposition to having insulin resistance many migrants in non-Western countries have risen in conditions of poverty and their bodies have been ?programmed to tackle hunger and starvation.

The result is that later in life, when exposed to the obesogenic environment of the country of immigration (high-fat diet and sedentary lifestyle), they are particularly prone to stock energy reserves and thereby gain weight (Montesi). This is especially true for Somali immigrants as majority of them are refugees fleeing from their country that is still amidst a civil war today. On top of this predisposition to gaining weight, adjusting their dietary habits is another main concern. The traditional Somali diet is centered around pasta, rice, other carbs, meat, camel and goat milk, and tea with a lot of sugar.

It’s not the most balanced diet but when combined with a more sedentary lifestyle than the lifestyle they knew in Africa,

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