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Prev Med. 2017 Jun;99:286-292. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.03.019. Epub 2017 Mar 23.

Acculturation and weight change in Asian-American children: Evidence from the ECLS-K:2011.

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Department of Health Disparities Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA. Electronic address:
USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
Department of Sociology, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA.


Despite relatively low rates of overweight and obesity among Asian-American children, disparities exist based on acculturation, socioeconomic status, and Asian ethnicity. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between acculturation and weight change in Asian-American children. Secondary aims were to compare changes by Asian ethnic group and acculturation x socioeconomic status. Participants included 1200 Asian-American children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11, a longitudinal study of U.S. children attending kindergarten in 2010-2011. Multinomial logistic regressions were conducted to predict weight change based on body mass indices in kindergarten (spring 2011) and second grade (spring 2013): consistently healthy weight, consistently overweight/obese, healthy weight change, and unhealthy weight change. Models included demographic, household, socioeconomic status, and acculturation measures, specifically mother's English proficiency and percentage of life spent in the U.S. Overall, 72.3% of children were at healthy weights in kindergarten and second grade. Of all Asian ethnic groups, Filipino children had the highest rate of being consistently overweight/obese (24.8%) and the lowest rate of being consistently healthy weight (62.9%). In addition, mother's English proficiency predicted unhealthy weight change (OR: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.75-0.92) and healthy weight change (OR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.65-0.86), relative to "consistently healthy weight." English proficiency also predicted being consistently overweight/obese for children with less educated mothers. Findings enhance our understanding of obesity disparities within Asian Americans and highlight the need to disaggregate the population. Obesity interventions are needed for Filipino children and families with low socioeconomic status but high English proficiency.


Acculturation; Asian; Child; Ethnicity; Longitudinal; Overweight and obesity

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