IJERPH, Vol. 17, Pages 2436: Associations of Nativity, Age at Migration, and Percent of Life in the U.S. with Midlife Body Mass Index and Waist Size in New York City Latinas (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Migration to the U.S. has been associated with increased body size and obesity risk in Latinas, but results for Caribbean immigrant women are limited and inconclusive. Emerging evidence also suggests that early-life environment associations with women’s midlife body mass index (BMI) may be different for larger and smaller women, but this has not been tested within migration life-course history. We examined the associations of nativity and migration timing with midlife body size in a sample of majority Caribbean Latinas and whether these associations varied across the body size distribution. We used interview data from 787 self-identified Latinas (ages 40–65 years) and assessed overall obesity using BMI (kg/m2) and central obesity based on waist circumference (WC, cm). We used linear and quantile regression to examine the association of migration history with BMI and WC and logistic regression for the probability of obesity. Foreign birthplace, later migration age, and lower percent of life in the U.S. were associated with lower BMI and WC means and lower odds of overall and central obesity. Quantile regression showed only inverse associations in the upper quantiles of BMI and WC. For example, relative to U.S.-born women, women living <50% of their lives in the U.S. had lower BMI in the 75th BMI percentile (β = −4.10, 95% CI: −6.75, −0.81), with minimal differences in the 25th (β = 0.04, 95% CI: −1.01, 0.96) and 50th BMI percentiles (β = −1.54, 95% CI: −2.90, 0.30). Our results support that migration to and increasing time in the U.S. are associated with greater body size in midlife Latina women, with stronger influences at higher body size distribution.