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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

GHADDAR, Suad; BROWN, Cynthia J.; PAGAN, José A.  and  DIAZ, Violeta. Acculturation and healthy lifestyle habits among Hispanics in United States-Mexico border communities. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2010, vol.28, n.3, pp. 190-197. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892010000900009.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the relationship between acculturation and healthy lifestyle habits in the largely Hispanic populations living in underserved communities in the United States of America along the U.S.-Mexico border. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted from April 2006 to June 2008 using survey data from the Alliance for a Healthy Border, a program designed to reduce health disparities in the U.S.-Mexico border region by funding nutrition and physical activity education programs at 12 federally qualified community health centers in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. The survey included questions on acculturation, diet, exercise, and demographic factors and was completed by 2 381 Alliance program participants, of whom 95.3% were Hispanic and 45.4% were under the U.S. poverty level for 2007. Chi-square (χ2) and Student's t tests were used for bivariate comparisons between acculturation and dietary and physical activity measures. Linear regression and binary logistic regression were used to control for factors associated with nutrition and exercise. RESULTS: Based on univariate tests and confirmed by regression analysis controlling for sociodemographic and health variables, less acculturated survey respondents reported a significantly higher frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption and healthier dietary habits than those who were more acculturated. Adjusted binary logistic regression confirmed that individuals with low language acculturation were less likely to engage in physical activity than those with moderate to high acculturation (odds ratio 0.75, 95% confidence interval 0.59-0.95). CONCLUSIONS: Findings confirmed an association between acculturation and healthy lifestyle habits and supported the hypothesis that acculturation in border community populations tends to decrease the practice of some healthy dietary habits while increasing exposure to and awareness of the importance of other healthy behaviors.

Keywords : Acculturation; health education; border health; Mexico; United States.

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