CitationGonzalez, Christopher J.; Copeland, Molly; Shapiro, Martin F.; & Moody, James (2023). Associations of peer generational status on adolescent weight across Hispanic immigrant generations: A social network analysis. Social Science & Medicine. vol. 323
AbstractBackground Childhood obesity disproportionately impacts Hispanics in the United States (US), the nation's largest ethnic minority population. However, even among Hispanic children, those born in the US are at increased risk of developing obesity than those not born in the US (i.e. first-generation Hispanics). The objective of this study is to assess whether ethnic and generational differences in the friend networks of Hispanic adolescents moderate the association between immigrant generation and weight. Methods We analyzed data from first-generation, second-generation, and third-generation Hispanic 12 to 19 year-old participants in Wave 1 of the Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Using multivariable linear regression, we examined the association between generational status and body mass index (BMI), and whether the ethnic and generational composition of friends moderated that association. Results Higher generational status was associated with higher BMI. The ethnic and generational composition of friends was not independently associated with BMI among Hispanic adolescents. However, a social network with a greater proportion of second-generation Hispanics was positively associated with BMI among first-generation Hispanics, and negatively associated with BMI among second-generation Hispanics. Conclusions The generational status of peers in Hispanic adolescents’ social networks, particularly the proportion that are second-generation Hispanic, moderates the positive association between immigrant generation and BMI. Moreover, this moderation effect is different across immigrant generations so that the proportion of second-generation adolescents within a social network is associated with higher BMI in first-generation Hispanic adolescents, but with lower BMI among those who are second-generation. These results were confirmed in sensitivity analyses. Our findings suggest that the generational composition of social networks alters the association between the generational status and weight of Hispanic adolescents, and thus that social factors within those networks may contribute to those associations.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleSocial Science & Medicine
Author(s)Gonzalez, Christopher J.
Shapiro, Martin F.