Influences on body weight of female Moroccan migrants in the Netherlands: a qualitative study.

M. Nicolaou, S. Benjelloun, K. Stronks, R.M. Dam, J.C. Seidell, C.M. Doak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


We aimed to gain insight into the influences on Moroccan migrant women's weight and weight-related behavior by enriching their perspectives with those of their non-migrant compatriots living in Morocco. In focus groups with migrant women in Amsterdam, participants attributed overweight to traditional Moroccan foods and food culture. In contrast, focus group participants in Morocco emphasized that overweight in migrants was largely due to their adoption of the Western diet. Results from women in both locations indicate a general lack of knowledge regarding appropriate physical activity. Migrants attributed their lower levels of physical activity to changes in lifestyle due to migration and reported having problems adjusting to these changes. All participants reported a cultural shift in preference towards slimmer body sizes. However, weight gain still tends to be seen as a sign of success. In designing interventions, universal approaches may be sufficient to address migration-related influences on behavior; however behavior that is driven by migrants' socio-cultural context may require more culturally appropriate strategies. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-891
Number of pages9
JournalHealth and Place
Issue number4
Early online date13 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Image
  • Body Weight
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Journal Article
  • Middle Aged
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Transients and Migrants
  • Young Adult

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