Chinese and Korean immigrants' early life deprivation: An important factor for child feeding practices and children's body weight in the United States

Charissa S.L. Cheah, Jennifer Van Hook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper examines the associations between Chinese and Korean immigrant parents' early life material and food deprivation and their concern about their child's diet or weight, preferences for heavier children, and weight-promoting diet and child weight, alongside the moderating role of parents' acculturation toward American culture. In 2010, Chinese and Korean immigrant parents of children ages 3-8 years in the United States (N = 130) completed interviews which asked about their perceived early life material deprivation and food insecurity, acculturation, child feeding practices, and evaluations of whether their child weighed more or less than the ideal, and child consumption of soda and candy. Independent measures of child and parent BMI were also obtained. Regression analyses revealed that parents' early life food insecurity was associated with the evaluation that their child should weigh more than they do and greater consumption of soda and sweets by their child, among the least acculturated parents. Parental material deprivation was associated with more laissez-faire child feeding practices: less monitoring, less concern about the child's weight or diet, and less perceived responsibility for the child's diet, but only among less acculturated parents. Overall, the results suggest that immigrant parents' child feeding practices and body size evaluations are shaped by material hardship in childhood, but these influences may fade as acculturation occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)744-752
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume74
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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