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Immigrant Assimilation and BMI and Waist Size: A Longitudinal Examination among Hispanic and Chinese Participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Citation

Albrecht, Sandra S.; Diez-Roux, Ana V.; Kandula, Namratha R.; Osypuk, Theresa L.; Ni, Hanyu; & Shrager, Sandi (2013). Immigrant Assimilation and BMI and Waist Size: A Longitudinal Examination among Hispanic and Chinese Participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Obesity, 21(8), 1695–703. PMCID: PMC3752334

Abstract

U.S. birth and longer length of U.S. residence among the foreign-born have been linked to higher anthropometric measures. However previous studies have been cross-sectional and few have examined heterogeneity by ethnic group. Cross-sectional findings that show immigrant weight converging to U.S.-born levels with longer time in the U.S. imply that immigrants' weight is increasing at a faster rate relative to U.S.-born individuals. Prospective studies are necessary to confirm this pattern. Using longitudinal data from 1486 Hispanic and 802 Chinese adults aged 45-84 years in the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, we examined whether foreign-born participants experienced greater increases in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) than the U.S.-born over a median follow-up of 5 years. We also investigated heterogeneity in these associations by Hispanic subgroup. Among Hispanics and Chinese, the foreign-born had a lower adjusted mean BMI and WC at baseline than the U.S.-born, but there were no significant differences in BMI or WC change over time. There was heterogeneity by Hispanic subgroup: despite small baseline nativity differences in WC, foreign-born Mexican Hispanics had a greater annual mean increase in WC over time compared to U.S.-born Mexican Hispanics (mean difference in annual change=0.28 cm, P=0.03). There were no nativity differences in the rate of WC increase over time among non-Mexican Hispanics. Foreign-born Mexican Hispanics also experienced a faster rate of WC increase compared to foreign-born non-Mexican Hispanics (mean difference in annual change=0.24 cm, P=0.01). Longer time in the U.S., examined prospectively, may only be linked to adverse anthropometric changes in some immigrant groups.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/oby.20104

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2013

Journal Title

Obesity

Author(s)

Albrecht, Sandra S.
Diez-Roux, Ana V.
Kandula, Namratha R.
Osypuk, Theresa L.
Ni, Hanyu
Shrager, Sandi

PMCID

PMC3752334