175879 A Comparison of Waist-Hip Ratio among Vietnamese Immigrants, Returnees, and Never-leavers

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hongyun Fu, M A , Department of International Health and Development, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Mark J. VanLandingham, Ph D , Department of International Health and Development, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Janet C. Rice, PhD , Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Carl Bankston, PhD , Department of Sociology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Background: This study examines the differences on waist hip ratio across three groups of Vietnamese. It aims to address key deficiencies in the migration and health literature with a natural experiment research design and to distinguish between migration and selection effects.

Methods: Our sample includes 127 Vietnamese immigrants living in New Orleans; 142 returnees to HCMC; and 467 HCMC residents who never migrated. The physical measure -- waist hip ratio -- an obesity measure which reflects the body fat distribution, has also been frequently used as an indicator of stress. Logistic regression analysis is utilized to examine the association between migration status and having high waist hip ratio, adjusting for key control variable.

Results: Controlling for age, sex and socio-economic factors, results from multivariate analysis demonstrated a higher likelihood of having high waist hip ratio among Vietnamese immigrants, relative to both never-leavers (OR = 5.17,P<0.001) and returnees (OR =5.82,P<0.001). This disadvantage among immigrants persists after further adjusting for BMI.

Conclusions: The migration experience from Vietnam to the United States appears to negatively affect the health status of Vietnamese as measured by waist hip ratio. The pattern of results, which is so distinct for Vietnamese immigrants and nationals, suggests that these effects are not an artifact of the types of persons choosing to emigrate, but rather are due to the migration experience per se. The more problematic fat distribution among Vietnamese immigrants may be related to American diet. It may well be caused by the stress of living in the U.S.

Learning Objectives:
1) To investigate the relationship between migration and waist hip ratio, by employing a natural experiment research approach. 2) To assess the body fat distribution of three groups of Vietnamese in order to obtain insights for health promotion and interventions among Vietnamese nationals and immigrants.

Keywords: Immigrants, Minority Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a doctoral student. This is part of the project I worked on with my professor to accomplish my degree at Tulane University.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.