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Acculturation and Body Mass among Latina Women.

Research paper by Elena E Fuentes-Afflick, Nancy A NA Hessol

Indexed on: 05 Feb '08Published on: 05 Feb '08Published in: Journal of women's health (2002)



Abstract

Acculturation is associated with an elevated risk of obesity among older Latinos, but the relationship between acculturation and body mass among childbearing Latina women has not been adequately studied.We analyzed data from 313 pregnant Latina women at San Francisco General Hospital. The dependent variable was prepregnancy body mass index (BMI), categorized as underweight (<18.5), normal (18.5-24.9, reference), overweight (25-29.9), or obese (>or=30). The independent variables were acculturation metrics, measured by acculturation index score, degree of Americanization, national origin subgroup, and the number of years residing in the United States.One third of women were overweight, and one fifth were obese. Education (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.81-0.96) was inversely associated with overweight, after adjusting for confounding variables. Longer residence in the United States (OR 1.08 for each additional year residing in the United States, 95% CI 1.02-1.15), older age (OR 1.08, 95% CI 1.01-1.16), and higher gravidity, the total number of pregnancies (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.09-1.84), were significantly associated with obesity.One measure of acculturation, length of time residing in the United States, was associated with obesity among childbearing Latina women. Efforts to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Latina women should not target recent immigrants but instead focus on long-term immigrants as well as women who are older and have low educational attainment and high gravidity.

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