Differential Effect of Age with Immigration Status on Junk Food Intake

Kisha Thakur, Thomas Wootton High School, Rockville, MD

Full manuscript: www.kon.org/urc/highschool/thakur3.html

Introduction Obesity has become a major public health policy issue in the United States (Hook, Balistreri, & Baker, 2009). As stated in The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion publication, “OBESITY: Halting the epidemic by making health easier at glance,” prevalence of obesity in the last three decades doubled among adults and tripled among children (CDC, 2011). About $147 billion was spent in medical care expenditures for obesity-related conditions in the United States. Moore and colleagues (2009) list a number of studies linking the consumption of junk food to obesity. Targeting obesity-related intervention and prevention efforts to subpopulations at greater risk of junk food consumption will efficiently reduce overall health care costs and health problems in the United States.

Studies suggest that younger Americans consume more junk food than do older Americans (Dave, An, Jeffery, & Ahluwalia, 2009; Bowman & Vinyard, 2004). The immigrant population is the fastest growing segment of the United States’ population (Kendal, 2011). Several studies found that younger immigrants tend to integrate faster than do older immigrants into American society. (Hook, Balistreri, & Baker, 2009; Jimenez, 2011; Myers & Pitkin, 2010). Because younger immigrants tend to assimilate faster with their U.S. counterparts than do older immigrants, the question arises whether the consumption of junk food varies with age. This study examines the presence of differential effect of age by immigration status on junk food intake. Past studies exploring the relationship between junk food intake and immigration status by age focused on specific immigrant or age groups but this study will include all immigrants as a single entity.

Read the full manuscript: www.kon.org/urc/highschool/thakur3.html