Migration-related influences on obesity among sub-Saharan African migrant adolescents in Melbourne, Australia

Madelaine Griffith, David John Mellor, Julie Bernadette Green, Andre Renzaho

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Abstract Aim: The aim of the present study was to examine migration- and socioeconomic-related influences on obesity among African migrant adolescents in Melbourne, Australia. Methods: Anthropometric data were collected from 99 parents and 100 adolescent offspring who also completed questionnaires eliciting demographic, socioeconomic and migration data. Multiple linear regressions were used to assess the relationship between migration- and socioeconomic-related factors and adolescent body mass index (BMI). Results: Only gender and parental BMI were associated with adolescent BMI after adjusting for adolescent age, adolescent gender, religion, parental BMI, parental education level and annual income. Boys (? = -1.45; P <0.05) had lower BMI than girls. Parental and adolescent BMI were positively associated (? = 0.11; P <0.05). In examining migration-related factors and adolescent BMI, after adjusting for gender and parental BMI, parental acculturation patterns and pre-migration life environment were associated with adolescent BMI, explaining, respectively, 6.5 and 4.0 of the variance in BMI. An integrated parental acculturation pattern was negatively associated with adolescent BMI (? = -0.17; P <0.05) while adolescents whose parents came from rural areas had a higher BMI (? = 1.48; P <0.05) than those whose parents came from urban areas. Adolescent acculturation patterns and length of stay in Australia were non-significantly associated with their BMI. Conclusions: Gender, pre-migration life environment and parental acculturation patterns seem to influence the prevalence of overweight and obesity among African migrant adolescents. Culturally competent obesity prevention programmes targeted towards African adolescents should consider these aspects in their design and delivery; however, further research is required to determine their relative contributions to African adolescent obesity in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252 - 257
Number of pages6
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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