Project II focuses on obesity among the children of Mexican immigrants ages 5-14. Mexican-origin boys in immigrant families have particularly high obesity rates relative to all other children, including Hispanic boys in native families. The proposed research will examine how immigration to the United States?and family, school, and neighborhood contexts within the United States?independently and jointly influence the risk of obesity among children of Mexican immigrants. The research will emphasize two aspects of children's contexts: the level of economic disadvantage and the degree to which they expose children to the wider American society beyond the Mexican community. These factors represent important dimensions of assimilation (cultural and economic) and are theorized to shape children's environments in complex ways that raise and lower the risk of obesity. An innovative component of the proposed research is its consideration of how the migration process itself affects children's weight. The research will go far beyond prior research on children's weight by comparing children living in Mexico with children of Mexican immigrants living in the United States, and by using propensity scores to compare children of Mexican immigrants with children living in Mexico whose parents have a high propensity to migrate. Another innovation is that the project will assess the role of parental legal status on children's weight using data from the NHIS-OIS. Finally, a third innovation is that the research will unpack the concepts of acculturation and SES into components that are likely to reduce resistance to obesity and components that are likely to increase exposure to the risk of obesity. The research team will examine how these are independently and jointly related to children's weight. For example, we hypothesize that one aspect of low acculturation?being socialized in Mexico?is associated with having heavier children. But we expect another aspect of low acculturation?social isolation from the U.S. mainstream?to have the opposite effect because it reduces exposure to the U.S. obesiogenic environment.

Public Health Relevance

Mexican children of immigrants are at particulariy high risk of ovenweight. This project tests new ideas about the relationships between children of Mexican immigrants'primary environments and weight. The proposed research will thus help identify the intervention points at which interventions may be most productively targetted~at the level of the family, school, neighborhood, or nation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DSR-W)
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Pennsylvania State University
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Oropesa, R S; Landale, Nancy S; Hillemeier, Marianne M (2016) Legal Status and Health Care: Mexican-Origin Children in California, 2001-2014. Popul Res Policy Rev 35:651-684
Frisco, Michelle L; Quiros, Susana; Van Hook, Jennifer (2016) One Size May Not Fit All: How Obesity Among Mexican-Origin Youth Varies by Generation, Gender, and Age. Demography 53:2031-2043
Howe Hasanali, Stephanie; De Jong, Gordon F; Roempke Graefe, Deborah (2016) Hispanic-Asian Immigrant Inequality in Perceived Medical Need and Access to Regular Physician Care. J Immigr Minor Health 18:219-27
Landale, Nancy S; Oropesa, R S; Noah, Aggie J et al. (2016) Early cognitive skills of Mexican-origin children: The roles of parental nativity and legal status. Soc Sci Res 58:198-209
Van Hook, Jennifer; Quiros, Susana; Frisco, Michelle L et al. (2016) It is Hard to Swim Upstream: Dietary Acculturation Among Mexican-Origin Children. Popul Res Policy Rev 35:177-196
Dondero, Molly; Van Hook, Jennifer (2016) Generational status, neighborhood context, and mother-child resemblance in dietary quality in Mexican-origin families. Soc Sci Med 150:212-20
Howe Hasanali, Stephanie (2015) Immigrant-Native Disparities in Perceived and Actual Met/Unmet Need for Medical Care. J Immigr Minor Health 17:1337-46
Hillemeier, Marianne M; Landale, Nancy S; Oropesa, R S (2015) Asthma in US Mexican-Origin Children in Early Childhood: Differences in Risk and Protective Factors by Parental Nativity. Acad Pediatr 15:421-9
Oropesa, R S; Landale, Nancy S; Hillemeier, Marianne M (2015) Family legal status and health: Measurement dilemmas in studies of Mexican-origin children. Soc Sci Med 138:57-67
Van Hook, Jennifer; Bachmeier, James D; Coffman, Donna L et al. (2015) Can we spin straw into gold? An evaluation of immigrant legal status imputation approaches. Demography 52:329-54

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