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RODAM: Risk of Obesity & Diabetes among African Migrants

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) faces an epidemic of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and obesity. At the same time, these conditions are several times more common in SSA migrant populations in Europe than in both, their African peers and European populations. In Europe, T2D strikes minority populations earlier, and causes more complications and a higher mortality.

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Obesity among SSA migrants

The reasons are only poorly understood, but may involve migration-related changes in lifestyle and diet, genetic predisposition as well as peculiarities in perception and practises. RODAM (Risk of Obesity & Diabetes among African Migrants) is a collaborative project with 8 partners from 3 European and 2 African countries which addresses these fundamental health issues among a homogeneous, and one of the largest SSA migrant groups in Europe (i.e. Ghanaians). The project aims at studying the complex interplay between environment, healthcare, biochemical and (epi)genetic factors in T2D and obesity among SSA migrants, at providing a basis for improving diagnosis and treatment, and at identifying specific risk factors to guide intervention and prevention. In a multi-centre study, adult Ghanaians will be recruited in rural and urban Ghana, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. The differences in prevalence rates within Ghana on the one hand, and three European countries on the other, will allow us to unravel environmental and (epi)genetic factors in relation to T2D and obesity.

Project Details

Co-principal Investigator: Berlin: Prof. Dr. med. Frank P. Mockenhaupt

Co-workers: Stephen Kow Baako Amoah, Ivonne Plaeschke, Steffen Zander, Sophie Müller

Co-operations: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Medizinische Klinik für Endokrinologie, Diabetes und Ernährungsmedizin, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Nuthetal
Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Source Bioscience, Nottingham, Grossbritannien International Diabetes Federation, Africa Region, Kampala, Uganda

Project duration: 2012-20142015

Project status: Recruitment (contact: 030 30116 705, or: Analysis

Funding: European Commission, FP7


Brathwaite R, Addo J, Kunst AE, Agyemang C, Owusu-Dabo E, de-Graft Aikins A, Beune E, Meeks K, Klipstein-Grobusch K, Bahendeka S, Mockenhaupt FP, Amoah S, Galbete C, Schulze MB, Danquah I, Smeeth L. Smoking prevalence differs by location of residence among Ghanaians in Africa and Europe: The RODAM study. PLoS One. 2017 May 5;12(5):e0177291.

Addo J, Agyemang C, de-Graft Aikins A, Beune E, Schulze MB, Danquah I, Galbete C, Nicolaou M, Meeks K, Klipstein-Grobusch K, Bahendaka S, Mockenhaupt FP, Owusu-Dabo E, Kunst A, Stronks K, Smeeth L. Association between socioeconomic position and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Ghanaians in different geographic locations: the RODAM study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2017 Jul;71(7):633-639.

Meeks KA, Stronks K, Adeyemo A, Addo J, Bahendeka S, Beune E, Owusu-Dabo E, Danquah I, Galbete C, Henneman P, Klipstein-Grobusch K, Mockenhaupt FP, Osei K, Schulze MB, Spranger J, Smeeth L, Agyemang C. Peripheral insulin resistance rather than beta cell dysfunction accounts for geographical differences in impaired fasting blood glucose among sub-Saharan African individuals: findings from the RODAM study. Diabetologia. 2017 May;60(5):854-864.

Agyemang C, Meeks K, Beune E, Owusu-Dabo E, Mockenhaupt FP, Addo J, de Graft Aikins A, Bahendeka S, Danquah I, Schulze MB, Spranger J, Burr T, Agyei-Baffour P, Amoah SK, Galbete C, Henneman P, Klipstein-Grobusch K, Nicolaou M, Adeyemo A, van Straalen J, Smeeth L, Stronks K. Obesity and type 2 diabetes in sub-Saharan Africans - Is the burden in today's Africa similar to African migrants in Europe? The RODAM study. BMC Med. 2016 Oct 21;14(1):166.

Agyemang C, Beune E, Meeks K, Addo J, Aikins AD, Bahendeka S, Danquah I, Mockenhaupt FP, Schulze MB, Klipstein-Grobusch K, Smeeth L, Stronks K. Innovative ways of studying the effect of migration on obesity and diabetes beyond the common designs: lessons from the RODAM study. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2017 Mar;1391(1):54-70.

Agyemang C, Beune E, Meeks K, Owusu-Dabo E, Agyei-Baffour P, Aikins Ad, Dodoo F, Smeeth L, Addo J, Mockenhaupt FP, Amoah SK, Schulze MB, Danquah I, Spranger J, Nicolaou M, Klipstein-Grobusch K, Burr T, Henneman P, Mannens MM, van Straalen JP, Bahendeka S, Zwinderman AH, Kunst AE, Stronks K. Rationale and cross-sectional study design of the Research on Obesity and type 2 Diabetes among African Migrants: the RODAM study. BMJ Open. 2014 Mar 21;4(3):e004877.

Danquah I, Othmer T, Frank LK, Bedu-Addo G, Schulze MB, Mockenhaupt FP. The TCF7L2 rs7903146 (T) allele is associated with type 2 diabetes in urban Ghana: a hospital-based case-control study. BMC Med Genet. 2013 Sep 23;14:96.

Frank LK, Heraclides A, Danquah I, Bedu-Addo G, Mockenhaupt FP, Schulze MB. Measures of general and central obesity and risk of type 2 diabetes in a Ghanaian population. Trop Med Int Health. 2013 Feb;18(2):141-51.

Danquah I, Bedu-Addo G, Terpe KJ, Micah F, Amoako YA, Awuku YA, Dietz E, van der Giet M, Spranger J, Mockenhaupt FP. Diabetes mellitus type 2 in urban Ghana: characteristics and associated factors. BMC Public Health. 2012 Mar 20;12:210