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"Fast Food Nation" Makes Immigrants Fat

On this Web site, I've written often about the toxic effects of our culture to America's overall health. In a culture in which convenience -- think 500 channels and nothing on, drive-through fast food and quick-fix toxic drugs -- is valued above all else, it should come as no surprise to anyone that people who emigrate to this country, good habits and all, wouldn't be affected adversely at some point.

A new study of immigrants has found the long-term exposure to American culture may be indeed hazardous. In fact, obesity is relatively rare in the foreign-born until they have lived here for more than a decade. Within a year of their arrival, only 8 percent of immigrants to the United States were obese. That figure jumped to 19 percent among those who had been here for at least 15 years.

Talk about finding the flip side of the "American dream!"

Immigrants were found to have better habits, including less smoking and drug use, than native-born residents, and longer life spans in previous studies. However, none took into account how obesity rates among immigrants changed over time before now. The link between obesity and numbers of years in the United States was found in white, Hispanic and Asian immigrant groups.

One quote from the report summed it up the best: "Trends in obesity among immigrants may reflect acculturation and adoption of the U.S. lifestyle, such as increased sedentary behavior and poor dietary patterns."

Yahoo News December 15, 2004

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