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Immigrants’ acculturation and changes in Body Mass Index

Ching-to Ma (), Tor Iversen () and Haakon E. Meyer ()
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Haakon E. Meyer: Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Norway and Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway

No WP2010-025, Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series from Boston University - Department of Economics

Abstract: We study Body Mass Index (BMI) changes among immigrants from Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Vietnam relative to native Norwegians in Oslo. We assess the effect of acculturation on BMI changes. We hypothesize that acculturation reduces the gap of BMIs between natives and immigrants. Acculturation is measured by immigrants’ language skills. Our data come from two surveys in Oslo 2000–2002. Weights and heights were measured at the surveys; participants were asked to recall weights when they were 25 years old. Norwegian language skills and socio-economic data were collected. Our findings support our hypothesis. Acculturation, as measured by proficiency in the Norwegian language, has the predicted effects on BMI changes. We do not find any effect of immigrants’ time of residency on BMI changes.

Keywords: Obesity; Acculturation; Changes in Body Mass Index; Immigrants (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010-01
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