Advertisement

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 263–266 | Cite as

Rapid Weight Gain in Pediatric Refugees after US Immigration

  • Brad G. OlsonEmail author
  • Yonatan Kurland
  • Paula F. Rosenbaum
  • Travis R. Hobart
Original Paper

Abstract

Prior studies of immigrants to the United States show significant weight gain after 10 years of US residence. Pediatric refugees are a vulnerable population whose post-immigration weight trajectory has not been studied. We examined the longitudinal weight trajectory of 1067 pediatric refugees seen in a single university based refugee health program between the dates of September 3, 2012 and September 3, 2014 to determine how quickly significant weight gain occurs post-arrival. The most recent BMI was abstracted from the electronic health record and charts reviewed to obtain serial BMI measurements in 3 year increments after the date of US arrival. The mean arrival BMI percentile for all refugees was 47th percentile. This increased significantly to the 63rd percentile within 3 years of US arrival (p < 0.01). This rapid increase was largely attributable to African and South and Southeast Asian refugees. The overall prevalence of age and sex adjusted obesity rose from 7.4 % at arrival to 18.3 % within 9 years of US immigration exceeding the pediatric US national obesity prevalence of 16.9 %. Pediatric refugees are at increased risk of rapid weight gain after US immigration. Targeted interventions focused on prevention of weight gain in specific populations are warranted.

Keywords

Obesity Refugee BMI Weight gain Pediatric 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Mary Ann Meeker, Alyson Weiner MD, Nicole Sanders MD, Sarah Evans MD and Susan Mahar PNP for their assistance in data collection and clinical care of patients in the Pediatric International Health Clinic.

References

  1. 1.
    Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011–2012. JAMA. 2014;311(8):806–14.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Goel MS, McCarthy EP, Phillips RS, Wee CC. Obesity among US immigrant subgroups by duration of residence. JAMA. 2004;292(23):2860–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Roshania R, Narayan KM, Oza-Frank R. Age at arrival and risk of obesity among US immigrants. Obesity. 2008;16(12):2669–75.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Oza-Frank R, Cunningham SA. The weight of US residence among immigrants: a systematic review. Obes Rev. 2010;11(4):271–80.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Department of Homeland Security: Office of Immigration Statistics. Annual flow report: refugees and asylees 2013. http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/ois_rfa_fr_2013.pdf. Accessed 9 June 2015.
  6. 6.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epi Info™ 7.1.5. http://wwwn.cdc.gov/epiinfo/7/index.htm. Accessed 20 November 2015.
  7. 7.
    Must A, Anderson SE. Body mass index in children and adolescents: considerations for population-based applications. Int J Obes. 2006;30(4):590–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Barlow SE, Expert C. Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment, and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity: summary report. Pediatrics. 2007;120(Suppl 4):S164–92.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Daniels SR, Arnett DK, Eckel RH, et al. Overweight in children and adolescents: pathophysiology, consequences, prevention, and treatment. Circulation. 2005;111(15):1999–2012.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Eagle TF, Sheetz A, Gurm R, et al. Understanding childhood obesity in America: linkages between household income, community resources, and children’s behaviors. Am Heart J. 2012;163(5):836–43.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Flegal KM, Ogden CL, Yanovski JA, et al. High adiposity and high body mass index-for-age in US children and adolescents overall and by race-ethnic group. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(4):1020–6.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brad G. Olson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yonatan Kurland
    • 2
  • Paula F. Rosenbaum
    • 3
  • Travis R. Hobart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsSUNY Upstate Medical UniversitySyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public Health and Preventive MedicineSUNY Upstate Medical UniversitySyracuseUSA

Personalised recommendations