Obesity rates for U.S. immigrants vary

A U.S. Citizen originally from the Indian subcontinent is far more likely to become overweight, researchers say.

The study, conducted by Emory University found that birthplace may alter how heavily body weight influences an immigrant’s risk of developing diabetes. The study’s chief researcher, Reena Oza-Frank says that “there was a clear link between being overweight and having diabetes for certain migrant groups, but not for others.”

The study showed that immigrants who arrive at younger ages are more likely to be overweight the longer they remain in America, more than immigrants who come to the U.S. at older ages.

Older studies on obesity and diabetes rates among U.S. immigrants previous lumped all of the subjects together in one group, without regards to their nation of origin. The more recent study, dividing the immigrants into nine different global regions yielded surprising results.

Immigrants from Central Asia fared the best, with only about 24 percent being overweight. Immigrants from the Indian subcontinent had an overall rate of diabetes at 10 percent, the highest percent. Indian immigrants were found to be three times greater than among European immigrants.  overweight

A theory put forth from one researcher is that immigrants coming from nations where starvation is a very real concern would not consider being overweight as a problem.

The study also found that immigrants from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean were at greater risk of being both overweight and diabetic than European immigrants. One in three Americans is overweight, and approximately one in ten have diabetes.

By Greg Goodsell

Catholic Online

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