Immigrant generation and physical activity among Mexican, American, Chinese & Filipino adults in the US

Medical Effectiveness Research Center for Diverse Populations, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94143-0613, USA.
Social Science [?] Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.89). 03/2010; 70(12):1997-2005. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.02.026
Source: PubMed


Migrant studies of physical activity (PA) can provide insight into the prevention of chronic disease. It is unclear, however, whether PA increases or decreases the longer migrants live in their host country. In the US, studies on immigrants' length of residence in the US and PA are inconclusive and many studies do not adequately consider the role of socioeconomic status (SES). Using California data, we examine relationships between immigrant generation and physical activity (PA) among Mexican, Chinese and Filipino adults, who represent the three largest immigrant groups in the US, and the extent to which the relationships are confounded by SES. Data from the 2000 US Census was linked with data on adults 18 years and older from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey. PA was measured in three different domains: leisure time (LTPA), non-leisure time (NLTPA) and any PA. Logistic regression was used to examine whether a wide range of SES factors, measured at the respondent and neighborhood levels, influenced the relationship between immigrant generation and PA in all domains and in different ethnic origin groups. Generation was significantly associated with LTPA among Mexican and Chinese adults and with NLTPA among all 3 ethnic origin groups; however the nature of the relationships varied. After adjusting for individual and neighborhood SES factors, a positive association between generation and LTPA remained among Mexican adults, and negative association between generation and NLTPA remained among Chinese and Filipino adults. These results underscore the importance of comparative studies of immigrant generation and PA and consideration of SES factors to identify pathways linking generation to PA. In the context of increasing rates of chronic disease, the study of transitions in PA among immigrants will continue to be critical to promoting the public health of diverse populations in countries such as the US.

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Available from: Eliseo J Pérez-Stable
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