Obesity among Young Children of Immigrants

Kelly Balistreri, Bowling Green State University

In the past 25 years, the prevalence of overweight children quadrupled; minority and poor children, many of whom are the children of immigrants, are at especially high risk. Our research uses the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten cohort to explore with descriptive statistics the prevalence of overweight and obesity as well as the risk factors associated with overweight and obesity (such as physical inactivity, irregular meals, constraints on free play, TV) among Kindergarten children of immigrants (N=3,374) and children of natives (N=12,490) broken down by a variety of social and demographic characteristics. The relationship between indicators of acculturation and obesity and how this relationship varies by parental socioeconomic status and characteristics of children’s schools is also explored. In addition to having relevance of the health and well-being of children of immigrants, research on acculturation focuses attention on the harmful effects of the U.S. environment on the health of all children.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Children and Youth, Adolescence, Parenting, Transition to Adulthood, Life Course