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Le-Scherban, Felice; Albrecht, Sandra S.; Osypuk, Theresa L.; Sanchez, Brisa N.; & Diez-Roux, Ana V. (2014). Neighborhood Ethnic Composition, Spatial Assimilation, and Change in Body Mass Index over Time among Hispanic and Chinese Immigrants: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. American Journal of Public Health, 104(11), 2138-2146. PMCID: PMC4192094


Objectives: We investigated relations between changes in neighborhood ethnic composition and changes in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference among Chinese and Hispanic immigrants in the United States.
Methods: We used Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis data over a median 9-year follow-up (2000-2002 to 2010-2012) among Chinese (n = 642) and Hispanic (n = 784) immigrants aged 45 to 84 years at baseline. We incorporated information about residential moves and used econometric fixed-effects models to control for confounding by time-invariant characteristics. We characterized neighborhood racial/ethnic composition with census tract-level percentage Asian for Chinese participants and percentage Hispanic for Hispanic participants (neighborhood coethnic concentration).
Results: In covariate-adjusted longitudinal fixed-effects models, results suggested associations between decreasing neighborhood coethnic concentration and increasing weight, although results were imprecise: within-person BMI increases associated with an interquartile range decrease in coethnic concentration were 0.15 kilograms per meters squared (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.00, 0.30) among Chinese and 0.17 kilograms per meters squared (95% CI = -0.17, 0.51) among Hispanic participants. Results did not differ between those who did and did not move during follow-up.
Conclusions: Residential neighborhoods may help shape chronic disease risk among immigrants.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Public Health


Le-Scherban, Felice
Albrecht, Sandra S.
Osypuk, Theresa L.
Sanchez, Brisa N.
Diez-Roux, Ana V.