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The Body Mass Index Assimilation of US Immigrants: Do Diet and Exercise Contribute?

Sukanya Basu and Michael Insler ()

Eastern Economic Journal, 2018, vol. 44, issue 3, 337-363

Abstract: Abstract We explore the potential causes of the unhealthy body mass index (BMI) assimilation of US immigrants to native levels. Diet — measured by fat, carbohydrate, protein, and caloric intake — and exercise have mixed success in explaining immigrants’ BMI convergence. Assimilation differs by age. Middle-aged immigrants exhibit poor behaviors consistent with unhealthy BMI gains. Worse diets may contribute to BMI increases among young immigrants who increase their intake of saturated fats. There are differences in behaviors by income, as poorer immigrants exhibit greater convergence to unhealthy native eating habits. Home country conditions influence dietary assimilation, with heterogeneity across Mexican and non-Mexican immigrants.

Keywords: obesity; immigration; nutrition; diet; exercise; I12; I18; J11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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