Generation of Immigration and Body Mass Index in Canadian Youth

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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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