Longitudinal study of acculturation and BMI change among Asian American men

Eva Erber Oakkar, June Stevens, Patrick T. Bradshaw, Jianwen Cai, Krista M. Perreira, Barry M. Popkin, Penny Gordon-Larsen, Deborah R. Young, Nirupa R. Ghai, Bette Caan, Virginia P. Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cross-sectional studies examining the association between Western acculturation and BMI in Asians have been inconsistent, and studies on BMI change are lacking. Objective: This study examined the associations between indicators of acculturation (generational status, length of US residence, and age at immigration) and overweight (BMI ≥25kg/m2) as well as 5-year BMI changes in 7,073 Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and Vietnamese men who lived in the US and were 44-71years old at baseline of the California Men's Health Study (2002-2003). Methods: Indicators of acculturation were reported at baseline. Repeated clinical measures of BMI were extracted from electronic health records (2005-2012). Results: Using generalized estimating equations we found that lower generational status, shorter duration of US residence and older age at immigration were inversely associated with being overweight. However, analysis of BMI curves using linear mixed models showed that shorter length of US residence and older age at immigration were associated with larger 5-year increases in BMI. Conclusions: Asian immigrants who were less acculturated had larger BMI increases as they became more acculturated but had not achieved overweight status. Healthy weight interventions among Asians immigrants may be most effective when targeting weight maintenance early in the process of acculturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Acculturation
  • Age at immigration
  • Asian Americans
  • Body mass index
  • Generational status
  • Length of US residence
  • Weight change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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