The Longer You Stay, the Bigger You Get: Really? Evidence from an Australian Longitudinal Study

Santosh Jatrana, Deakin University Australia
Samba Siva Rao Pasupuleti, Deakin University Australia

Using multiple rounds of panel data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) and multi-level hybrid logistic regression models, this study investigates the differences and changes in the levels of obesity among Foreign-Born (FB) from English Speaking Countries (ESC) and non-English Speaking Countries (NESC) relative to Native-Born (NB) Australian over time. Regression results showed that FB from NESC living in Australia for less than 10 years and 10-19 years are less obese as compared to the NB people, but, this advantage was lost for the FB from NESC staying in Australia for more than 20 years. On the other hand, irrespective of the duration of residence, the FB from ESC did not differ significantly from NB people in terms of their odds of being obese. This paper challenges the commonly held assumptions that migration and longer stay in the host country is associated with unhealthy weight gain.

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Presented in Session 31: Determinants and Consequences of Obesity and Weight Gain in International Contexts