Acculturation and Health Experiences Among Young Immigrant Canadians
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This thesis investigates the measurement of acculturation, and the effects of acculturation on obesity, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, among Canadian youth. It consists of four manuscripts. The first manuscript developed a short, 16-item questionnaire that measures acculturation among youth in Canada; named the “Bicultural Youth Acculturation Questionnaire.” The questionnaire was pilot tested on a sample of Canadian young people aged 18-25. The BYAQ demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbach’s alphas > .75), and convergent validity with immigrant generation. The second manuscript examined the relationship between immigrant generation and race/ethnic group on BMI, using data from the 2009/10 Canadian Health Behaviour in School Aged Children (HBSC) study. This study found that foreign-born youth had lower mean BMI percentiles than youth born in Canada, and this did not differ by time since immigration. Within the same ethnic group, foreign-born Arab/West Asian and East Indian/South Asian youth had lower BMIs than peers born in Canada. The third manuscript examined the relationship between time since immigration and ethnic group with physical activity using the Canadian HSBC study data. Youth who immigrated within the last 1-2 years were less likely to meet the physical activity guidelines of 7 days a week of at least 60 minutes of MVPA compared to peers born in Canada. Conversely, no differences were observed between youth who immigrated 6+ years previously and Canadian born peers. Finally, East and South-East Asian youth were less likely to meet the physical activity guidelines than Canadian host culture peers, regardless of time since immigration. The fourth manuscript examined the relationship between immigrant generation and ethnic group on screen time, and how screen time changed over two years of follow-up, using the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY). Screen time increased in all groups over follow-up. The unique finding of this study was that 1st generation immigrants reported the largest increase in screen time. This increase was enough that the low levels of screen time observed among 1st generation immigrants at baseline was consistent with 3rd generation peers at follow up.