Different cardiovascular risk factors dominate in Somaliland and Norway

Soheir Hassan Ahmed use data from two cross-sectional studies to compare the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors between the Somali population in Oslo and those living in Somaliland.


  1. High prevalence of obesity among Somali immigrants in Norway.

  2. Most other cardiovascular risk factors are more prevalent in Somaliland.
  3. Hypertension, obesity and diabetes prevalence increase with age in Somaliland.


Thesis: Prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors among Somalis living in Norway and Somaliland
Candidate: Soheir Hassan Ahmed
Time: December 9, 2019 at 13:15
Place: Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, Laboratoriebygget 25: Grønt auditorium
Link to university website


The studies in the thesis include data fra 1100 adults living in Hargeisa in Somaliland and 220 Somali immigrants living in Oslo.

(1) 44 % of Somali women in Oslo are obese, compared to 31 % in Somaliland. For women in Somaliland, obesity is associated with lower educational level and being married. However, the prevalence of central obesity measured as waist circumference was similar in both cohorts. Among men, the prevalence of obesity is below 10 % in both countries, whereas the prevalence of central obesity is somewhat higher among Somali men living in Norway than in Somaliland.

(2) Systolic and diastolic blood pressure are higher in Somali women living in Somaliland compared to Oslo. In men, there was no such difference. The total cholesterol:HDL ratio was higher in Somaliland among both sexes. The calculated 10-year cardiovascular risk was equal in the two countries.

(3) Most persons in Hargeisa don’t eat fruit or vegetables on a daily basis. Almost eight out of ten report low physical activity levels. A fourth of all men but almost none of the women smoke. The prevalence of hypertension, obesity and diabetes increase rapidly with increasing age.


(1) Ahmed, S. H., Meyer, H. E., Kjøllesdal, M. K., & Madar, A. A. (2018). Prevalence and Predictors of Overweight and Obesity among Somalis in Norway and Somaliland: A Comparative StudyJournal of obesity2018.

(2) Ahmed, S. H., Marjerrison, N., Kjøllesdal, M. K. R., Stigum, H., Htet, A. S., Bjertness, E., Meyer, H. E.m & Madar, A. A. (2019). Comparison of Cardiovascular Risk Factors among Somalis Living in Norway and Somaliland. International journal of environmental research and public health16(13), 2353.

(3) Ahmed, S. H., Meyer, H. E., Kjøllesdal, M. K., Marjerrison, N., Mdala, I., Htet, A. S., Bjertness, E., & Madar, A. A. (2019). The prevalence of selected risk factors for non-communicable diseases in Hargeisa, Somaliland: a cross-sectional study. BMC public health19(1), 878.

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