SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • acculturation;
  • Hispanic or Latino;
  • socioeconomic status;
  • health;
  • food intake;
  • obesity;
  • physical activity

Acculturation and socioeconomic factors are closely related to nutrition and health outcomes. Greater acculturation among Hispanics (e.g., Mexican Americans) in the United States has been linked to less healthful food intake patterns, elevated exposure to media among children, and increases in the prevalence of cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, and obesity. Conversely, acculturation seems to be associated with several positive health-related outcomes, such as increases in leisure-time physical activities, better self-rated health, and greater access to and utilization of health care services. Health of immigrants with low socioeconomic status (SES) is compromised partially because of less healthful food intake and physical activity patterns, higher obesity rates, limited access to and use of health care services, and environments that limit healthier lifestyle choices. SES and acculturation are interconnected, and lower levels of acculturation might be protective, especially in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, through retention of social norms, social support, and healthier food intake patterns. Socioeconomic conditions at individual and environmental levels seem to modify the associations between acculturation and nutrition- and health-related outcomes, and two immigrant groups appear to be specifically at high risk: those with persistent low SES, and those who later gain purchasing power without educational and social advancements. In addition to the community level interventions and macro level policies, promoting the retention of healthier traditional food intake habits and social support systems, increasing knowledge and skills related to foods and lifestyle in the United States, and improving health and media literacy can be viable primary prevention strategies at the individual and household levels.