The shape of things to come? Obesity prevalence among foreign-born vs. US-born Mexican youth in California
Obesity among the Mexican-origin adult population in the US has been associated with longer stays in the US and with being US- vs. Mexican-born, two proxies for acculturation. This pattern is less clear for Mexican-origin children and young adults: recent evidence suggests that it may be reversed, with foreign-born Mexican youth in the US at higher risk of obesity than their US-born Mexican–American counterparts. The objective of this study is to evaluate the hypothesis that the immigrant advantage in obesity prevalence for Mexican-origin populations in the US does not hold for children and young adults. We use data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (N = 1143) and the California Health Interview Survey (N = 25,487) for respondents ages 4–24 to calculate the odds of overweight/obesity by ethnicity and nativity. We find support for the hypothesis that overweight/obesity prevalence is not significantly lower for first-generation compared to second- and third-generation Mexican-origin youth. Significantly higher obesity prevalence among the first generation was observed for young adult males (ages 18–24) and adolescent females (ages 12–17). The previously-observed protective effect against obesity risk among recent adult immigrants does not hold for Mexican-origin youth.
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Volume (Year): 78 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
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