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Acculturation and overweight-related behaviors among Hispanic immigrants to the US: the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health

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  • Gordon-Larsen, Penny
  • Harris, Kathleen Mullan
  • Ward, Dianne S.
  • Popkin, Barry M.
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    Abstract

    Little is known about the factors underlying the striking increase in overweight occurring between first and second generation US immigrants. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study addressed two goals. First, we determined which measures of acculturation (defined as the acquisition of dominant cultural norms by members of a non-dominant group) were important. Second, we determined how the acculturation process affected differences in overweight and its proximate determinants (e.g., physical activity, diet, and smoking) as immigrants acculturated to American society. In addition, we sought to elucidate the role of underlying structural factors (e.g., family income and crime) and acculturation factors (e.g., language spoken at home and proportion of foreign-born neighbors) in generation differences in overweight. Results showed clear structural and acculturation differences between foreign and US-born immigrants to the US. Foreign-born immigrants were more likely to have lower family income and maternal education, and to live in areas of higher immigrant density and greater linguistic isolation. In addition, results suggested rapid acculturation of overweight-related behaviors, such as diet, smoking, and inactivity, in US-born relative to foreign-born immigrants. Multivariate analysis indicated that longer US residence was associated with increased overweight among Puerto Ricans and Cubans. Predicted probabilities showed that controlling for acculturation and proximate factors increased overweight among foreign-born adolescents, but had minimal impact for US-born adolescents. Thus, without the beneficial pattern of: acculturation factors, diet, and physical activity, first generation Hispanic adolescents would have higher overweight prevalence. We found important generation differences in structural, acculturation, and proximate overweight determinants. These lifestyle differences between foreign- and US-born Hispanic adolescent immigrants are likely to underlie the striking increase in overweight prevalence between first and subsequent generation of US residence.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 57 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 11 (December)
    Pages: 2023-2034

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:57:y:2003:i:11:p:2023-2034

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    Keywords: Acculturation Physical activity Diet Smoking Environment/context US;

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    Cited by:
    1. Fenelon, Andrew, 2013. "Revisiting the Hispanic mortality advantage in the United States: The role of smoking," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 1-9.
    2. Neeraj Kaushal, 2006. "Do food stamps cause obesity? Evidence from immigrant experience," Working Papers 0607, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    3. Creighton, Mathew J. & Goldman, Noreen & Pebley, Anne R. & Chung, Chang Y., 2012. "Durational and generational differences in Mexican immigrant obesity: Is acculturation the explanation?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 300-310.
    4. Powell, Lisa M. & Wada, Roy & Krauss, Ramona C. & Wang, Youfa, 2012. "Ethnic disparities in adolescent body mass index in the United States: The role of parental socioeconomic status and economic contextual factors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 469-476.
    5. Markowitz, Diane L. & Cosminsky, Sheila, 2005. "Overweight and stunting in migrant Hispanic children in the USA," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 215-240, July.
    6. Van Hook, Jennifer & Baker, Elizabeth & Altman, Claire E. & Frisco, Michelle L., 2012. "Canaries in a coalmine: Immigration and overweight among Mexican-origin children in the US and Mexico," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 125-134.
    7. Lisa M. Bates & Julien O. Teitler, 2008. "Immigration and low birthweight in the US: The role of time and timing," Working Papers 1085, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    8. Cheah, Charissa S.L. & Van Hook, Jennifer, 2012. "Chinese and Korean immigrants’ early life deprivation: An important factor for child feeding practices and children’s body weight in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(5), pages 744-752.

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