Nativity differences in youths’ weight trajectories: Foreign-born health integration during the transition to adulthood

Citation

Jackson, Margot I. (2011). Nativity differences in youths' weight trajectories: Foreign-born health integration during the transition to adulthood. Social Science Research. vol. 40 (5) pp. 1419-1433 , PMCID: PMC4129945

Abstract

Nativity differences in youths’ health in the United States are striking—the children of foreign-born parents often have healthier outcomes than those of native-born parents. However, very little is known about how immigrant-native differences evolve within the same individuals over time, or about life cycle aspects of the health-related integration of youth with migration backgrounds. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, I examine nativity differences in trajectories of weight gain during adolescence and early adulthood, as well as the degree to which temporal patterns are stratified by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. I examine whether nativity differences converge, diverge or remain stable over time, and whether patterns are socially stratified within and across nativity groups. I find that first-generation adolescents begin at a lower weight than their third generation peers and gain weight at a significantly slower pace, resulting in meaningful differences by early adulthood. More complex examination of the relationship between nativity and weight gain reveals additional differences by ethnicity: the foreign-born advantage over time does not extend as strongly to Hispanic adolescents. The findings demonstrate how the health-related integration of foreign-born youth is tied to race/ethnicity and socioeconomic circumstances, and suggest the need to examine the ways in which social circumstances and health change together.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.ssresearch.2011.04.008

Keyword(s)

Transition to adulthood

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Social Science Research

Author(s)

Jackson, Margot I.

Year Published

2011

Volume Number

40

Issue Number

5

Pages

1419-1433

DOI

10.1016/j.ssresearch.2011.04.008

PMCID

PMC4129945

NIHMSID

NIHMS519508

Reference ID

1420