Obesogenic behaviors among adolescents: The role of generation and time in the united states

Joanna Almeida, Dustin T. Duncan, Kendrin R. Sonneville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To examine how obesogenic behaviors (consumption of sugary drinks, physical activity, and/or sedentary behaviors) differ among adolescents within and across generation. Design: Data come from the 2008 Boston Youth Survey, a population-based sample of 9th-12th-graders in 22 public high schools in Boston, MA. We used self-reported information to calculate generation and obesogenic behaviors (i.e. physical activity in past 7 days, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in past 7 days, and TV/computer/video game use on an average school day). Multivariable models were conducted to estimate the association between generation and obesogenic behaviors, adjusting for race/ethnicity, sex, age, family structure, and school. Results: Relative to first generation youth, 1.5 generation (RR=1.74, 95% CI= 1.10, 2.77) and second generation (RR=1.45, 95% CI=1.02, 2.07) youth were more likely to consume soda. Second (RR=1.60, 95% CI=1.20, 2.14) and third generation (RR=2.29, 95% CI=1.43, 3.65) youth were significantly more likely to consume other sugary drinks. Only third generation youth were more likely to watch $2 hours/day of TV when compared to first generation youth (RR=1.53, 95% CI=1.07, 2.18). No differences were seen by generation for levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity or computer/ video games. Conclusions: Greater consumption of sugary drinks is seen across generation among adolescents. Sugary drinks, which are aggressively marketed to immigrant youth, may contribute to excess weight gain seen among foreign-born youth upon arrival in the United States. (Ethn Dis. 2015;25[1]:58-64).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Adolescents
  • Body Mass Index
  • Generation
  • Obesogenic Behaviors
  • Time in the United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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