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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2011 May;22(2):590-605. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2011.0045.

Birthplace, language use, and body size among Mexican American women and men: findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2006.

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1
School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. sylviag@berkeley.edu

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Mexican immigrant status has been associated with decreased obesity, but this pattern may be changing. We draw from 2001-2006 NHANES data on Mexican Americans to examine whether body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference vary by country of birth and among the U.S.-born by language.

RESULTS:

Among women, U.S.-born Spanish speakers had the highest mean BMI, followed by immigrant women, while U.S.-born English speakers had the lowest mean BMI. Immigrant men had a lower mean BMI than U.S.-born men. These patterns were similar for waist circumference and persisted after adjusting for socioeconomic status (SES) and other covariates.

CONCLUSION:

Immigrant women do not appear to be protected against a large body size, compared with immigrant men. Among the U.S.-born, women who retain Spanish are at higher risk for larger body size than exclusive English speakers. Initiatives targeting obesity should address differentials in body size patterns among immigrant and U.S.-born Mexican American men and women.

PMID:
21551936
DOI:
10.1353/hpu.2011.0045
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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