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Immigrants`s acculturation and chanes in body mass index

Tor Iversen (), Ching-to Ma () and Haakon E. Meyer ()
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Haakon E. Meyer: Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Postal: Department of Community Medicine and General Practice, University of Oslo, and, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, , Oslo, Norway

No 2010:3, HERO Online Working Paper Series from University of Oslo, Health Economics Research Programme

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 test a symmetric convergence hypothesis: irrespective of whether an immigrant’s initial BMI is lower or higher than a native Norwegian, acculturation should make the difference in BMI between an immigrant and a native smaller. Convergence is driven by acculturation, which 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 various socio-economic data were collected. We use multivariate regression analysis. Our findings broadly support the symmetric convergence hypothesis. Proficiency in the Norwegian language tends to make immigrants’ BMI, particularly among females, more equal to native Norwegians. Immigrants’ time of residency has been found to have no impact on changes in BMI.

Keywords: Obesity; Body Mass Index (BMI); immigrants; acculturation; Norway (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010-06-22
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