A comparison of weight-related behaviors of hispanic mothers and children by acculturation level

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Hispanic mothers and children in the United States experience a high prevalence of obesity, which may be affected by maternal acculturation level. Little is known about the association of acculturation on weight-related behaviors. This study describes differences in weight-related behaviors by acculturation level of Hispanic mothers residing in the U.S. and compares them to behaviors of White mothers. Acculturation level was determined using personal acculturation and acculturation environment variables. Cluster analysis of acculturation variables identified three groups of Hispanic mothers: low personal and environmental acculturation (n = 46), high personal and low environmental acculturation (n = 65), and high personal and environmental acculturation (n = 38). Results indicate that, compared to White mothers (n = 340), the least acculturated cluster of Hispanic mothers tended to model physical activity less often and the most acculturated exerted more pressure on children to eat. Mothers in the least acculturated cluster tended to rate children’s health status lower, indicate that children had greater fruit juice and less milk intakes, have more meals in locations associated with less healthy meals, and have the least space and supports for physical activity. Findings highlight relationships between maternal acculturation level and weight-related behaviors and suggest strategies for helping acculturating Hispanic mothers create healthier lifestyles and home environments.

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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

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