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Economics and human biology (1)
Journal of immigrant and minority health / Center for Minority Public Health (1)
Maloney, Thomas N. (2)
Wen, Ming (2)
Year of Publication
Neighborhood socioeconomic status and BMI differences by immigrant and legal status: Evidence from Utah
Economics and human biology
We build on recent work examining the BMI patterns of immigrants in the US by distinguishing between legal and undocumented immigrants. We find that undocumented women have relative odds of obesity that are about 10 percentage points higher than for legal immigrant women, and their relative odds of being overweight are about 40 percentage points higher. We also find that the odds of obesity and overweight status vary less across neighborhoods for undocumented women than for legal immigrant women. These patterns are not found among immigrant men: undocumented men have lower rates of obesity (by about 6 percentage points in terms of relative odds) and overweight (by about 12 percentage points) than do legal immigrant men, and there is little variation in the impact of neighborhood context across groups of men. We interpret these findings in terms of processes of acculturation among immigrant men and women.
Obesity; Immigrant; Health; Neighborhood; Latinos; Hispanics
Latino Residential Isolation and the Risk of Obesity in Utah: The Role of Neighborhood Socioeconomic, Built-Environmental, and Subcultural Context
Journal of immigrant and minority health / Center for Minority Public Health
The prevalence rate of obesity in the United States has been persistently high in recent decades, and disparities in obesity risks are routinely observed. Both individual and contextual factors should be considered when addressing health disparities. This study examines how Latino-white spatial segregation is associated with the risk of obesity for Latinos and whites, whether neighborhood socioeconomic resources, the built environment, and subcultural orientation serve as the underlying mechanisms, and whether neighborhood context helps explain obesity disparities across ethnic and immigrant groups. The study was based on an extensive database containing self-reported BMI measures obtained from driver license records in Utah merged with census data and several GIS-based data. Multilevel analyses were performed to examine the research questions. For both men and women, Latino residential isolation is significantly and positively linked to the risk of obesity; after controlling for immigrant concentration, this effect gets amplified. Moreover, for men and women, the segregation effect is partly attributable to neighborhood SES and the built environment; and only for women is it partly attributable to obesity prevalence in the neighborhood. Place matters for individual risk of obesity for both men and women and there are multifarious pathways linking residence to obesity. Among the demographic, socioeconomic, physical, and cultural aspects of neighborhood context examined in this study, perhaps the most modifiable environment features that could prevent weight gain and its associated problems would be the built environmental factors such as greenness, park access, and mixed land use.
Obesity; Residential segregation; Immigrant enclave; Built environment
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