Health Implications of Migration: Cross-Classified Multi-Level Models to Disentangle Country of Origin and State of Residence Effects of Bodyweight

Rebecca Jones , Emory University
Regine Haardoerfer, Emory University
Fernando Riosmena, University of Colorado Boulder
Solveig Cunningham, Emory University

In this study, we evaluate how pre- and post-migration contextual characteristics are associated with bodyweight among foreign-born individuals in the U.S.. We utilize a cross-classified multi-level model to model clustering in both country of origin and state of residence simultaneously using data from the New Immigrant Survey (n=3,085). The variance in BMI was driven largely by individual differences (86.6%), with country of origin explaining 13.3% of the variance and state of residence explaining 0.1%. Five years later, the variance in BMI was 10.9% for country of origin and 0.005% for state of residence. Country of origin characteristics were consistently associated with bodyweight, particularly animal protein and sweets consumption. We found few state-level characteristics associated with bodyweight. Even after years in the U.S., foreign-born individuals’ bodyweight were more strongly associated with country of origin characteristics at the time of their departure, highlighting the role of differential immigrant adaptation by national origin.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy