Dr. Ming-Chin Yeh, associate professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health and colleagues published a study in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health on duration of time in the United Stated and the risk of obesity among New York City Chinese immigrants.
Obesity was defined using WHO Asian standards as a BMI of 27.5 kg/m2 or greater. Duration of U.S. residence was categorized into <5, 6–15, and 15 years and over. Diet and physical activity were assessed as potential explanatory variables. After adjusting for covariates, increased time in the US was significantly associated with an increased obesity risk, as was having no work-related physical activity. The association was not influenced by socio-economic status or by demographic factors.
Longer duration in the U.S. can be viewed as a marker of cumulative exposure to a new social, cultural, and physical environment. In this regard, the study lends support to the notion that assimilation to the U.S. has an adverse effect on health.