Neighborhood socioeconomic status and BMI differences by immigrant and legal status: Evidence from Utah
ABSTRACT We build on recent work examining the BMI patterns of immigrants in the US by distinguishing between legal and undocumented immigrants. We find that undocumented women have relative odds of obesity that are about 10 percentage points higher than for legal immigrant women, and their relative odds of being overweight are about 40 percentage points higher. We also find that the odds of obesity and overweight status vary less across neighborhoods for undocumented women than for legal immigrant women. These patterns are not found among immigrant men: undocumented men have lower rates of obesity (by about 6 percentage points in terms of relative odds) and overweight (by about 12 percentage points) than do legal immigrant men, and there is little variation in the impact of neighborhood context across groups of men. We interpret these findings in terms of processes of acculturation among immigrant men and women.
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ABSTRACT: Food consumption behavior is likely a result of environmental stimuli, access, and personal preferences, making policy aimed at increasing the nutritional content of food consumption challenging. We examine the dual role of the social and physical neighborhood environment as they relate to the eating behaviors of residents of a low-income minority urban neighborhood. We find that both proximity to different types of food sources (a characteristic of the physical neighborhood environment) and dietary intake of neighbors (a characteristic of the neighborhood's social environment) are related to dietary intake. The relationships are most robust for fruits and vegetables consumption. Proximity to fast food sources is related to less fruits and vegetables consumption while the opposite is found for individuals residing closer to fresh food sources. Additionally, individuals whose neighbors report increased fruits and vegetables intake also report higher fruits and vegetables consumption, while controlling for proximity to food sources. Instrumental variable and quasi-experimental robustness checks suggest that correlation in neighbors’ fruits and vegetables consumption is likely due to social interactions among neighboring residents. The results elucidate important inter-relationships between access and social norms that influence dietary behavior.08/2014; 51. DOI:10.1016/j.socec.2014.04.002