Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Dr. Ike Okosun

Second Advisor

Dr. Reynolds Morrison


INTRODUCTION: Health risks and economic burden associated with obesity calls for prevention, reduction, and urgent need to bridge the racial and ethnic disparities in its prevalence. More so net international migration is projected to be the highest driver of population growth in the US by 2030. Hence, an exploratory study to understand the burden of obesity across racial/ethnic groups and various sociodemographic subgroups is imperative.

AIM: To describe the relationship between acculturation and elevated BMI among Foreign-born US residents.

METHODS: Using survey data from the 2015 - 2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), this thesis examined the relationship between acculturation using Length of stay as a proxy and elevated body mass index [BMI]) among racial-ethnic groups, Hispanics (n=946), non- Hispanic black (n=145), non-Hispanic whites (n=81), non-Hispanic Asians (n=587), and Multiracial/others (n=29).

Descriptive statistics were conducted for all participant characteristics including age, gender, race, marital status, education, and family to income ratio (PIR). Bivariate analyses were conducted using Chi-Square Test for categorical variables and the Wilcoxon Rank sum test for continuous variables.

Multivariable logistic regression models were constructed to explore the association of the primary independent variable on elevated BMI outcome. The logistic regression results are reported as odd ratios (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI).

RESULTS: The is a no significant risk for elevated BMI with length of stay after adjusting for other age, gender, race, education and poverty (adjusted OR 1.19, 95% CI 0.857, 1.654). This finding is at variance with existing literature that shows there is an association between obesity and duration of stay. Gender is a significant factor in the relationship between acculturation and BMI and differs by race/ethnicity.

Conclusions: There is a need for future research to explore the relationship between gender and acculturation among immigrants of different racial-ethnic groups.