The Multiple Dimensions of Immigrant Acculturation and Obesity among Mexican-Americans

Mathew J. Creighton, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Anne Pebley, University of California, Los Angeles

Using the second wave of the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (n=1,419), we explore the link between multiple dimensions of immigrant acculturation and obesity, focusing on Mexican Americans. We distinguish Mexican immigrants (1st and 2nd generation) from 3rd generation whites, blacks and Latinos, recognizing that distinct native-born reference populations may imply diverse acculturative pathways. First, we assess links among generational, social, and linguistic measures of acculturation. Second, we consider the association between these multiple dimensions of acculturation and diet and exercise. Third, we evaluate the degree to which social and linguist acculturation, along with diet and exercise, explain the link between immigrant generation and adult obesity. We find a clear relationship between multiple dimensions of acculturation and health behaviors (diet and exercise) and that social acculturation (i.e., interaction with non-co-ethnics) provides a partial explanation of the association between immigrant generation and adult obesity.

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Presented in Session 48: Immigrant Integration and Assimilation