The Role of Acculturation in Nutrition Behaviors among Low Income Hispanic Women Living in Texas
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The purpose of this study was to determine the role of acculturation in the food consumption patterns of low income Hispanic women living in Texas and enrolled in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program by testing the following hypotheses: a) There are significant differences in consumption of fruit and vegetables by selected socio-demographic variables; and, b) less healthy food consumption patterns are associated with higher levels of acculturation in health-related research involving low-income Hispanic women living in Texas. A secondary-data analysis of the responses to the Texas Food & Nutrition (TEXFAN) questionnaire was performed. TEXFAN is a 122-item survey designed to measure WIC participants' consumption behaviors and to assess the impact of new food packages in Texas' WIC program. A total of 3,336 adult, non-pregnant women self-identified as having Hispanic ethnic background of all races were considered for this study. Analysis of Variance and Kruskal-Wallis tests showed significant differences in nutritional practices among Hispanic women for age, educational attainment, employment status, race, area of residence, and acculturation. Logistic Regression analysis confirmed the hypothesis that lower levels of acculturation are associated with healthier food consumption patterns. The majority of respondents (70.7%, N=2,358) did not consume the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day; therefore, do not have healthy patterns of food consumption. Consequently, the majority of respondents (70.0%, N= 1,709) has a weight statuses above normal and at a higher proportion than women in the State of Texas and the nation. Acculturation continues to interest social and behavioral researchers but variations on conceptualization, definition, operationalization, and measurement negatively impact generalizability and applicability of results. Interventions not considering acculturation are not likely to be successful. Research has to include community, ecological, cultural and contextual factors (e.g., machismo, accessibility to sidewalks, availability of fresh healthy foods, etc.). Development of effective intervention programs should be aimed to increase consumption of healthy food and an adherence to the recommendations of the "Healthy Plate" and the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010" among Hispanics. Also, interventions should generate necessary skills among Hispanics for empowering them to sustain proper nutritional behaviors and overcome barriers.
Hispanic Women / Latina
Atehortua, Nelson (2012). The Role of Acculturation in Nutrition Behaviors among Low Income Hispanic Women Living in Texas. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from