Acculturation and Socioeconomic Factors Influence Body Mass Index in Canadian Youth

  • Quon E
  • McGrath J
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Acculturation factors are partly related to weight gain in immigrant youth; however, socioeconomic variables may influence this relation. This study examined the influence of individual and neighbourhood acculturation as well as socioeconomic status (SES) on body mass index (BMI) in a sample of Canadian youth. Participants were stratified into two groups: children (6-11 years, n = 11,493) and adolescents (12-17 years, n = 10,154). Individual-level data were from the population based National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, including generational status, race, language, household income, parental education, and BMI percentile. Neighbourhood-level data were from the Census of Canada by dissemination area, including proportion of immigrants, language, median income, and education level. Results showed that acculturation variables indicating less adoption of Canadian culture were associated with lower BMI percentile in both age groups. In full multivariate models, only parent education, immigrant neighbours, neighbourhood income (and immigrant status, neighbourhood education in adolescents) remained significant. Altogether, SES partially accounted for the association between acculturation and BMI. These findings have important implications for practitioners considering the adaptation of prevention and intervention efforts for immigrant and low SES families, as well as for future research on the association between acculturation and health.




Quon, E., & McGrath, J. (2013). Acculturation and Socioeconomic Factors Influence Body Mass Index in Canadian Youth. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 37, S283.

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