ABSTRACT: Both obesity and immigration continue to increase in the United States. Studies suggest that a transition in lifestyle patterns, such as food intake, may mediate the relationship between immigration and obesity.
We examine obesity among hotel workers in relation to age, sex, race/ethnicity, and indicators of food intake, immigration, and acculturation.
Four thousand five hundred thirty hotel workers in 30 hotels were studied from the first year of the Work, Weight and Wellness program, before intervention (during 2005-2006).
Weight and height were measured, whereas race/ethnicity, language, education, immigration, acculturation, and food intake variables were assessed by questionnaire.
The study included 43% male and 57% female hotel workers (mean age 44.4+/-11.3 years; 42% Filipino, 32% other Asian, 13% Pacific Islander, 9% white, 1% black/African American, and 3% other race/ethnicity). On average (mean value), 55% of participants were born outside the United States; 57% were overweight or obese (body mass index [BMI] >25). The BMI of those born in the United States was 1.3 higher than that of those born in another country, adjusting for sex and race/ethnicity. Intake of sweet drinks and meat was positively associated with BMI while intake of fruit was negatively associated with BMI. Age at arrival in United States ("generation") was negatively associated with BMI, whereas greater acculturation was positively associated with BMI.
Food intake behaviors are probably related to place of birth, generation of migration to the United States, and acculturation. Direct measures of food intake added explanatory power to models, suggesting the importance of food intake to obesity. Further study of the influence of immigration, acculturation, and food intake on obesity using longitudinal study designs is warranted.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 10/2009; 109(10):1712-8. · 3.59 Impact Factor