Poster Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting

Migration, acculturation and environment: Determinants of obesity among Iranian migrants in Australia. (#225)

Maryam Delavari 1 , Anders Larrabee Sønderlund , David Mellor , Boyd Swinburn , MohammadReza Mohebbi
  1. Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia

Abstract: Obesity represents a global public health issue. Research has generally found that migration is linked to weight change, with immigrants typically gaining weight post-migration. While this appears to be connected to change in migrant health behavior due to acculturation, there are also indicators of environmental influences. At present there is no research assessing the link between migrant weight change and environmental factors linked to obesity. Few studies investigate whether any such association is moderated by the given migrant population’s specific characteristics. The present study examines the interaction between obesity-related environmental factors and the pattern of migrant acculturation in a sample of 152 Iranian immigrants in Victoria, Australia. Weight measurements, demographics, physical activity levels and diet habits were also surveyed. Results showed that pattern of acculturation was not related to body mass index. However, it was linked to the participants' perception and use of the Australian environment. Assimilated participants were inclined to engage the Australian environment as one conducive to physical activity and health. Ultimately, it was found that the physical environment contributes to the relationship between the pattern of acculturation and obesity in migrant populations. On this basis, suggestions for modifications to the migrant obesity theoretical model are considered.

Keywords: Acculturation; obesity; physical environment; immigration; health; Iranians.