Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 605–609 | Cite as

Are First-Generation Adolescents Less Likely to be Overweight? Results from a Survey of Boston Youth

  • Kendrin R. Sonneville
  • Dustin T. Duncan
  • Renee M. Johnson
  • Joanna Almeida
Brief Communication


The effect of years of residence in the US on the weight of adolescents is unclear. We examined the association between generation (i.e. 1st, 1.5, 2nd, and 3rd) and weight indicators among Boston adolescents. Data are from a sample of 1,420 9–12th grade public school students in Boston, Massachusetts. We used self-reported information to calculate generation and weight characteristics (i.e., body mass index (BMI), BMI z-score, overweight status), and ran multivariate analyses to estimate the association between generation and weight characteristics, adjusting for race/ethnicity, gender, age and school. In pooled multivariate models, 1.5 generation, second generation, and third generation youth had significantly higher mean BMI scores and mean BMI z-scores than first generation youth. Second (RR 1.87, 95 % CI 1.13–3.12) and third generation youth (RR 2.06, 95 % CI 1.21–3.50) were also significantly more likely to be overweight than first generation youth. In multivariate models stratified by sex, this pattern persisted for females only. There is a positive, linear trend in BMI by generation that differs by gender. Mechanisms underlying this association should be addressed.


Body mass index (BMI) Weight status Generation Adolescents 



Support for this publication was provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1L40HD066672-01) to Dr. Joanna Almeida. Dr. Dustin T. Duncan was supported by the Alonzo Smythe Yerby Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard School of Public Health. The Boston Youth Survey 2008 was funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U49-CE00740; David Hemenway, PI) to the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center (HYVPC), and in collaboration with the City of Boston. The content is the sole responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC, the NIH, or the City of Boston.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kendrin R. Sonneville
    • 1
  • Dustin T. Duncan
    • 2
  • Renee M. Johnson
    • 3
  • Joanna Almeida
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Adolescent and Young Adult MedicineBoston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social and Behavioral SciencesHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Community Health SciencesBoston University School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  4. 4.Simmons School of Social WorkBostonUSA

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