Socioeconomic Status and Body Mass Index among Hispanic Children of Immigrants and Children of Natives

Kelly Balistreri, Bowling Green State University
Jennifer Van Hook, Pennsylvania State University

This paper explores whether the relationship of socioeconomic status with BMI among Hispanic children differs from that among non-Hispanic white children, and whether any observed differences depend on the generational status of Hispanic children. Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study were used to estimate linear growth curve models of children’s initial BMI in kindergarten and change in BMI through fifth grade. SES was measured by logged household income and parental educational attainment. The relationship between socioeconomic status of the parents and Hispanic children’s BMI varies by the parental nativity status. Higher parental education was associated with a slower increase in BMI among non-Hispanic white children and Hispanic children of immigrants, but not among native Hispanic children. Income was positively associated with initial BMI among children of Hispanic immigrants. The association of income with BMI among non-Hispanic whites did not differ significantly from the association for Hispanic children of natives.

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Presented in Poster Session 1