Household Income, Maternal Acculturation, Maternal Education Level and Health Behaviors of Chinese-American Children and Mothers

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A cross-sectional study was conducted to examine factors associated with health behaviors, including physical activity and dietary intake, of Chinese women who have immigrated to the United States and their children.


Using convenience sampling, a total of 65 Chinese-American children and their mothers in the San Francisco Bay Area participated in the study.


Information related to children's weight, height, level of physical activity (Caltrac accelerometer), and dietary intake (Kids' food frequency questionnaire) was collected using standardized instruments. Mothers completed questionnaires regarding household income, their levels of education and acculturation (Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale), dietary intake (SWAN Food Frequency Questionnaire), and level of physical activity (Seven-day physical activity recall).


36.9% (n = 24) of the children were overweight (body mass index higher than the 85th percentile). A high household income was related to low maternal body mass index (R2 = .08, P = .04), high maternal fat intake (R2 = .21, P = .0001), and high maternal intake of sweets (R2 = .08, P = .033), and a high level of maternal acculturation was related to low body mass index in children (R2 = .07, P = .034).


The results suggest that an intervention aimed at reducing obesity and promoting health behaviors must be appropriate for different ethnic groups with various incomes and levels of acculturation.

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