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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Generation of immigration and body mass index in Canadian youth

Elizabeth C Quon, Jennifer J McGrath, Marie-Hélène Roy-Gagnon
Journal of Pediatric Psychology 2012, 37 (8): 843-53
22366576

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the role of acculturation, as measured by generational status, on body mass index (BMI) in a sample of Canadian youth.

METHODS: Population-based data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth were used. Participants were divided into 2 age ranges: children aged 6-11 years (n = 14,287) and adolescents aged 12-17 years (n = 12,155). Youth were classified into one of five generations of immigration: first-generation, second-generation, mixed-generation, third-generation, and Aboriginal. Parent- and self-report height and weight were used to calculate BMI Z-scores.

RESULTS: Generation of immigration was significantly related to BMI Z-score in both childhood and adolescence. First-generation immigrants had more weight gain compared to other groups during adolescence, but not during childhood.

CONCLUSIONS: Acculturation, as measured by generation of immigration, is an important predictor of BMI in Canadian children and adolescents.

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