Diet, Physical Activity and Weight-Related Behaviors, Changes and Risks with Newly-Arrived (< 1 Year) Immigrant and Refugee Adolescents (Ages 12–17)
Adolescent immigrants and refugees are at elevated risk for obesity, however, gaps remain regarding specific diet and lifestyle changes. This study examined: (1) weight status, behaviors and perceptions, (2) diet patterns and changes, (3) sociodemographic and dietary factors associated with BMI. Cross sectional survey, anthropometric measures were conducted at a school for newcomer youth in North Carolina. Data analysis included descriptive, frequency, bivariate and linear regression. Participants (n = 68, 55% female, < 1 year US) included immigrants and refugees ages 12–17. Thirty-one percent were overweight or obese. Forty-seven percent had attempted to lose weight. Positive weight perceptions were associated with normal BMI (p = 0.010). Fruit, milk, fruit juice, soda, and meat consumption increased post-arrival (p = 0.037, p = 0.010, p = 0.003, p = 0.044, p = 0.014, respectively). Dietary change was positively associated with BMI (p = 0.002). Adverse diet and lifestyle changes occur rapidly, are associated with obesity, and weight control behaviors and concerns warrant early intervention.
KeywordsAdolescent Emigrants and immigrants Refugees Life style Diet Food and nutrition Acculturation Obesity
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