Examining Heterogeneity of Social Support among Asian and Latino Immigrants in the United States: A Latent Class Analysis

Stressors stemming from the migration experience may exacerbate underlying health concerns or initiate new problems, placing immigrants at risk for decreased wellbeing. Social relationships have robust benefits for physical and mental health; however, social networks may be interrupted during migration, leaving immigrants without usual sources of support. Whether migrants develop new social ties and what types of social resources they access post-migration may influence health outcomes. This study examines the variety of social support experiences and whether there are unique differences in support patterns between immigrants and US-born. We argue these differences are integral to health promotion efforts. Drawing on data from the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) (n = 4639), we use latent class analysis (LCA) and multinomial logistic regression to explore unique patterns and predictors of social support from family, friends, and co-religionists. Results indicate six unique patterns of social support: High Support (26%), Family and Peer-Connected (24%), Family-Centered (23%), Low Support (11%), Friend-Centered (9%), and Religious (8%). Immigrant status is predictive of membership in the Low Support, Religious, and Family-Centered subgroups. Immigrants are less likely than US-born to access support from all sources other than implicit support from co-religionists. Findings lend empirical support from a nationally representative study to the notion that migration may disrupt usual sources of support and influence subsequent support network composition and draw attention to the potential health consequences for immigrants without strong social relationships. Implications highlight the need for social support-building efforts in new and established immigrant communities.

The Environmental Barriers to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity among Caregivers of Obese Children Living in New York City Public Housing

The United States is in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic. However, there is a dearth of literature on the health outcomes of children living in public housing developments and specifically children from racial and ethnic minorities. Thus, this study aimed to assess family and community-level factors contributing to childhood obesity among a sample of racial and ethnic minority low-income families residing in public housing. We interviewed a sample (n = 15) of predominantly racial/ethnic minority low-income housing residents in New York City (NYC) who were caring for an obese/overweight child at the time of the study. The urban setting of New York City offered a unique lens to the issue of childhood obesity and its complex causes. The results from this study indicated that the costs of living in gentrified neighborhoods, proximity to supermarkets, unmaintained play areas, and high-crime posed barriers to caregivers attempting to provide children with a health-promoting environment in public housing. These findings add to the growing literature on childhood obesity disparities and can potentially lend themselves to future research and the development of tailored interventions.

Frequency and Type of Food Messages on Television

Objectives: The objective of this research was to document the frequency and type of food messages embedded in programming and commercials on primetime and special interest channels. Methods: Seventy-two hours of primetime television, Black Entertainment Television (BET), and Cartoon Network were recorded over a three-week period. Food messages were coded as “healthy” or “unhealthy” and by type of social norm messaging. Ninety-four different types of social norm messages were found. Results: There were 3,784 “unhealthy” and 1,175 “healthy” messages. Messages targeting youth more often observed non-nutrient dense food presented as being fun, consumption of excessive portion sizes and normal weight individuals eating non-nutrient dense foods than was observed in messages targeting adults. Overweight individuals in negative/funny situations were eight times as often observed on Cartoon Network and BET as on primetime television. Children may be exposed to almost twice the amount of “unhealthy” food messages per hour of television viewing than adults (88 per hour versus 45 per hour, respectively). Conclusions: Overall, most social norm messages associated with food seen on television promoted eating behaviors and attitudes that may be associated with the development of obesity.