Immigrants' acculturation and changes in Body Mass Index

Tor Iversen, Ching-to Albert Ma, Haakon E Meyer
Economics and Human Biology 2013, 11 (1): 1-7
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.


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