The influence of immigrant generation on obesity among Asian Americans in California from 2013 to 2014

Shaoqing Gong, Kesheng Wang, Ying Li, Arsham Alamian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives We aimed to examine the association between immigrant generation and obesity among Californian adults and Asian Americans. Methods We pooled weighted data (n = 2,967) on Asian Americans from the 2013–2014 California Health Interview Survey. Overweight and obesity were defined using body mass indices (BMI) of 25 kg/m 2 and 30 kg/m 2 , respectively, in non-Asians, compared with BMI of 23 kg/ m 2 (for being overweight) and 27.5 kg/m 2 (for being obese) in Asians. First-generation or immigrant Asian Americans were defined as those born outside of the U.S. Second-generation Asian Americans were defined as those born in the U.S. with at least one foreign-born parent. All other Asian participants were classified as third-generation or higher. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used with adjustment for age, sex, family income, smoking status, marital status, education, physical activity, and fast food consumption. Results Overall, 23.3% of the Asian population was obese, and 40.0% was overweight. The percentage of 1 st , 2 nd , and 3 rd generation were 72.7%, 22.6%, and 4.6%, respectively. Overall, 1 st generation of Asians had lower odds of being obese compared to Whites (OR = 0.34, 95% CI = 0.26–0.45). Multiple logistic regression analyses showed that overall, 2 nd generation (OR = 1.69, 95%CI = 1.10–2.60) and 3 rd generation (OR = 2.33, 95%CI = 1.29–4.22) Asians had higher odds of being obese compared to 1 st generation Asians. Among Chinese, compared to the 1 st generation, the 3 rd generation had increased likelihood of being obese (OR = 6.29, 95%CI = 2.38–16.6). Conclusion Compared to Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks, Asian immigrants are less likely to be obese. Among Asians, 2 nd and 3 rd generations were more likely to be obese compared to 1 st generation. The obesity rate seems to increase the longer Asian immigrants remain in the U.S.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0212740
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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