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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- Abraído-Lanza, Ana F. & Chao, Maria T. & Flórez, Karen R., 2005. "Do healthy behaviors decline with greater acculturation?: Implications for the Latino mortality paradox," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(6), pages 1243-1255, September.
- Buttenheim, Alison & Goldman, Noreen & Pebley, Anne R. & Wong, Rebeca & Chung, Chang, 2010. "Do Mexican immigrants "import" social gradients in health to the US?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(7), pages 1268-1276, October.
- 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.
- 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.
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