Is the physical activity of immigrants influenced by moving to America?
Chambers, Chelsea Elizabeth
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Immigrants’ acculturation to the United States includes an adaptation to new occupations and a new lifestyle that may alter the amount of energy they expend and the way they expend it. Compared to natives, first generation immigrants’ tendency to work physically demanding jobs results in a higher amount of energy expended on physical activity at work but a lower amount on physical activity at home, causing first generation immigrants to expend an overall lower amount of energy than natives. As immigrants extend their stay in the US, their energy expenditures become more similar to natives, as physical activity at work decreases and physical activity at home increases, resulting in overall higher total energy expenditure over time. This result is contrary to our expectation that physical activity would decrease over time because immigrant health decreases as a resulting of coming to America; however, it reveals the negative consequences of work-related physical activities and suggests that poor diet may play a large role in determining immigrant health.