Change in waist circumference with longer time in the United States among Hispanic and Chinese immigrants: The modifying role of the neighborhood built environment

Sandra S. Albrecht, Theresa L. Osypuk, Namratha R. Kandula, Linda C. Gallo, Félice Lê-Scherban, Sandi Shrager, Ana V. Diez Roux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: We examined whether living in neighborhoods supportive of healthier diets and more active lifestyles may buffer immigrants against the unhealthy weight gain that is purported to occur with longer length of US residence. Methods: Neighborhood data referring to a 1-mile buffer around participants' baseline home addresses were linked to longitudinal data from 877 Hispanic and 684 Chinese immigrants aged 45 to 84years in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. We used ethnicity-stratified linear mixed models to examine whether food and activity-based neighborhood measures (healthy food stores, walkability, and recreational facilities) were associated with change in waist circumference (WC) over a 9-year follow-up. Results: Among Hispanics, living in neighborhoods with more resources for healthy food and recreational activity was related to lower baseline WC. However, there was no association with change in WC over time. Among Chinese, living in more walkable neighborhoods was associated with lower baseline WC and with slower increases in WC over time, especially among the most recent immigrant arrivals. Conclusions: Where immigrants reside may have implications for health patterns that emerge with longer time in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-772.e2
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, supplement to grant R01 HL071759 05A1 (D.R.); and by the Michigan Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities ( P60 MD002249 ) funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities . The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis is supported by contracts N01-HC-95159 through N01-HC-95169 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . S.S.A. also received support from the Population Research Training grant ( T32 HD007168 ) and the Population Research Infrastructure Program ( R24 HD050924 ) awarded to the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.


  • Acculturation
  • Immigrants
  • Longitudinal
  • Neighborhood
  • Waist circumference


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