Degree Name

DrPH (Doctor of Public Health)


Public Health

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Arsham Alamian

Committee Members

Kesheng Wang, Ying Li


Obesity has reached epidemic levels in the United States (U.S.). Despite an increasing number of studies on obesity, a very few have addressed this debilitating condition among Asian American adults. The overall objective of this study is to utilize the latest cycles of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) to better understand obesity and identify its correlates among Asian Americans. The study population comprised Asian American adults aged 18 years or older from the CHIS with data pooled from the 2013 and 2014 survey years. Obesity (≥27.5 kg/m2) was defined using the World Health Organization (WHO) Asian body mass index (BMI) cut points. This study examined differences in obesity prevalence across ethnically diverse groups, the association between geography and obesity, and investigated the influence of immigrant generation on obesity. Descriptive analyses were used to examine the prevalence of obesity. Weighted multiple logistic regression analyses were used for the analyses. The prevalence of obesity was 23.3% among Asian Americans. Compared to Whites, being Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese were associated with lower prevalence of obesity (Odd Ratio (OR) = 0.28, 95% CI = 0.18-0.45; OR=0.14, 95% CI=0.04-0.46; OR=0.28, 95% CI=0.14-0.58, respectively). Compared to Chinese, being Japanese and Filipino were associated with higher obesity prevalence (OR=2.75, 95% CI=1.52-4.95; OR=2.90, 95% CI=1.87-4.49). Living in rural areas was associated with lower prevalence of obesity in 2014 (OR=0.53, 95% CI=0.29-0.97). Being male was associated with higher prevalence of obesity overall, in 2013, and in 2014, respectively. In California, 1st generation of Asians had lower odds of being obese compared to Whites (OR=0.34, 95% CI=0.26-0.45). Among Asian adults, 2nd generation (OR=1.69, 95% CI=1.10-2.60) and 3rd generation (OR=2.33, 95% CI=1.29-4.22) were associated with higher odds of being obese compared to 1st generation. Disparities in ethnicity/race, geography, and immigrant generations were observed in Asian Americans in California in 2013-2014. Our findings can help resolve controversies surrounding the obesity etiology, especially as applied to health disparities in Asian Americans, and help guide future obesity and health disparity elimination intervention efforts.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Epidemiology Commons