Dietary Assimilation and Health among Immigrant Groups

Pratikshya Bohra-Mishra, Princeton University

Using the New Immigrant Survey (NIS) data collected in 2003, this study explores regional and country level variations in immigrants’ degree of dietary assimilation as well as its influence on their BMI and self-reported health status. We find significant variation in immigrants’ level of dietary assimilation by region and country of origin while time spent in the US is insignificant when region and country of origin are controlled for. Moreover, immigrants’ BMI is positively associated with their choice to adopt the diet of the host country but the relationship does not hold when controlled for inter-country differences among immigrants from each region. Finally, dietary assimilation is significantly associated with immigrants’ perception of any change in their health since arrival with the association being much stronger on worsening health outcomes than on improving them. The relationship holds for all immigrant groups even after controlling for inter-country differences.

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Presented in Poster Session 3