Neighborhood socioeconomic status and BMI differences by immigrant and legal status: Evidence from Utah

ArticleinEconomics and human biology 12(1) · April 2013with14 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.90 · DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2013.03.008 · Source: PubMed


    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.