The health of immigrant children: a cohort study in the Metropolitan area of Lisbon - Portugal

Z. Muggli, R Amado, MR Martins, M Pires, D Vaz

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Studies in Europe show immigrant children to be more vulnerable to health problems. Portugal has a gap in knowledge about the health of immigrant children. The objective of this paper is to present results on a cohort study for health trajectories of immigrant children in the Amadora Municipality which has one of the highest numbers of immigrants in Portugal. We will analyse health profile characteristics of immigrant and native children and their utilisation of health services.

Prospective cohort study in Amadora health units (questionnaires and patient registers data). Participants: 420 native and immigrant children born in 2015 registered in Amadora Primary Health Care Centers (PHCC); recruitment from June 2019 to March 2020. Main outcomes: psychomotor development (Mary Sheridan); emotional and behavioural problems (SDQ); BMI; vaccination;

From the 420 children recruited, 48,3% were immigrant mostly from Brazil and Portuguese speaking African countries, 41 children were born outside the EU (1st generation).
From the 126 children who had no routine medical examination at the age of 4, 59% were immigrant. Almost all immigrant children had vaccinations up to date (90%). Around 70% of native and 60% of immigrant children achieved all parameters in Mary Sheridan's test (p = 0.09). Overweight was found in 28% of native and 22% of immigrant children (p = 0.2). Median SDQ score for externalizing behaviours is different for 1st generation immigrants suggesting higher behaviour problems for this group of children (p = 0,003).

Most differences in overall outcomes occur between 1st generation immigrant and other children; immigrants showed significantly higher emotional and behaviour problems. Early identification of above difficulties and higher utilisation of routine health examinations should be a priority.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberckaa166.787
Pages (from-to)v822
Number of pages1
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue numbersupl. 5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2020


  • body mass index procedure
  • emotions
  • brazil
  • child
  • health services
  • portugal
  • primary health care
  • prospective studies
  • vaccination
  • behavioral problems
  • immigrants
  • overweight
  • early diagnosis
  • portuguese


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