Children in immigrant families more likely to be sedentary

August 4, 2014
Rachel Kimbro, associate professor of sociology at Rice Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Immigrant children from all racial and ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be sedentary than U.S.-born white children, according to a new study by sociologists at Rice University. The researchers said their findings should remind pediatricians and parents of children in immigrant families to encourage physical activity.

The research revealed that of immigrants from all racial and have lower levels of physical activity than U.S.-born white children, even when adjustments are made for socio-demographic and neighborhood characteristics. A low level of physical activity is zero days in a typical week of exercise that causes rapid breathing, perspiration and a rapid heartbeat for 20 continuous minutes or more. Children of Asian immigrants are nearly three times as likely to have lower levels of physical activity than U.S.-born white children, and children of Hispanic immigrants and immigrants of unspecified ethnicity are nearly two times as likely.

The study, "Neighborhood Context and Immigrant Children's Physical Activity," will appear in the August edition of Social Science and Medicine. The study included data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, which surveyed 17,510 participants with kindergarteners on issues affecting child development between 1998 and 1999.

The study also found that U.S.-born white children have higher rates of physical activity than minority children born in the U.S., although the gap is smaller than the one that exists with children of immigrants. U.S.-born black children are 1.35 times as likely to have lower levels of physical activity, U.S.-born Hispanic children are 1.23 times as likely and U.S.-born children of unspecified ethnicity are 1.52 times as likely.

"Children in immigrant families are at particular risk for low levels of physical activity, which we were unable to explain with a host of factors relating to family and ," said Rachel Kimbro, an associate professor of sociology at Rice and the study's co-author.

Mackenzie Brewer, a doctoral student in sociology at Rice University and the study's lead author, said that in terms of health status in the U.S., it is important to understand the health behaviors of children in .

"These children comprise a growing population of American youth, and failing to address the low levels of physical activity among this group could have important long-term health consequences as this population transitions into adolescence and adulthood," Brewer said.

The authors hope the study will promote additional research on how of children varies across racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Explore further: Youth immigrating to Canada don't meet physical activity guidelines

More information: Neighborhood context and immigrant children's physical activity, www.sciencedirect.com/science/ … ii/S0277953614003815

Related Stories

Youth immigrating to Canada don't meet physical activity guidelines

February 26, 2014
Ethnicity and the time spent since immigrating may work together to determine whether or not youth will be physically active after moving to Canada.

Mother's place of birth is a risk factor for autism in US-born children, research shows

June 24, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Can the place where a woman is born and raised be a risk factor for autism in her child? According to new research out of UCLA, the answer is yes.

Little exercise and heavy use of electronic media constitute a significant health risk for children

May 20, 2014
The Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study, PANIC, carried out by the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Eastern Finland shows that low levels of physical activity combined with heavy use of electronic ...

Babies born in Canada to immigrant mothers have lower risk of cerebral palsy

July 14, 2014
Babies born to mothers who immigrated to Ontario from other countries have significantly lower rates of cerebral palsy than those of Canadian-born mothers, especially those from the Caribbean and East Asia, new research has ...

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.