Does Junk Food Intake Vary With Immigration Status?

Kisha Thakur, Thomas Wootton High School, Rockville, MD

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Introduction This study examines the variation in junk food intake with immigration status. Due to the increasing prevalence of obesity related health problems, obesity has become a major public health policy issue in the United States (Hook, Balistreri, and Baker, 2009). Moore and colleagues (2009) cited a number of studies demonstrating that the consumption of junk food leads to obesity. Identifying subpopulations with higher junk food consumption will better target the intervention and prevention efforts aimed at alleviating the prevalence of obesity and will thereby efficiently reduce overall health-care costs and health problems in the United States.

The immigrant population, comprised of those born in a foreign country and who do not automatically receive US citizenship, is the fastest growing segment of the United States population (Kendal, 2011). The question thus arises to whether the growing number of obesity cases in the United States is related to the increasing influx of immigrants into the United States. This study seeks to identify whether junk food intake, a risk factor of obesity, differs between immigrants and nonimmigrants in order to help shed light on whether or not public health interventions for obesity should be more focused on immigrant or nonimmigrant populations in the United States. 

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