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The Health Transition among Urban Migrants and Rural Stayers in South Africa

Stephen McGarvey, Brown University
Francesc Gomez-Olive, Harvard University
Mark Collinson, University of the Witwatersrand
Chantel Pheiffer, Brown University
Carren Ginsburg, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Stephen Tollman, University of the Witwatersrand
Sadson Harawa, University of the Witwatersrand
Michael J. White, Brown University

Health outcomes are a concomitant feature of the demographic transition in Africa, and they are linked to the possibilities of realizing the Demographic Dividend. We examine blood pressure (BP) and body mass index (BMI) in the initial wave of a longitudinal study of approximately 3,000 migrant and non-migrants age 18-39 years originating in a rural district of South Africa. Among males, hypertension prevalence was estimated to be 17.0% and 32.3% among non-migrants and migrants, respectively. Among females, the corresponding figures were 11.1% and 22.1%. Mean differences in BMI were less pronounced although distributions across weight categories differed by gender and location. Multivariate results predicting BP and adjusting for age and BMI show significantly higher hypertension odds in among migrants from the origin districts in both men and women. Further work (prior to APC) will examine the role of selectivity, urban exposure and migration itself in determining variation in health outcomes.

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 54. Linkages between Urban, Peri-Urban and Rural Areas