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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

It is well documented that immigrants who arrive in the United States have superior health compared with native-born individuals. However, US evidence suggests that this initial health advantage erodes over time, a process referred to as “unhealthy assimilation,” the “acculturation paradox,” or the “immigrant paradox.” Variation in terminology reflects divergence in the conceptual frameworks researchers have used to approach the study of immigrant health, and in particular, how adaptation to US culture and environment influences health. The goal of this chapter is to summarize the evidence on studies that examine these questions in US immigrants with regard to chronic disease risk, in particular obesity, diabetes, and physical activity. A theoretical framework is proposed that can guide interpretation of findings on studies of chronic disease risk in US immigrants and inform future studies that aim to examine the influence of migration on health from a global perspective.

Keywords: acculturation, assimilation, chronic disease, diabetes, obesity, physical activity, immigrant health

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