171221 Food Security, Obesity and Generational Status Among Latinas in California

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 10:30 AM

Meenakshi Fernandes, MPhil , Pardee RAND Graduate School, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA
Tamara Dubowitz, PhD , RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA
Roland Sturm, PhD , RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA
Khoa Truong, PhD , Department of Public Health Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Introduction: We investigated the relationship between household food security and obesity by generational status for low-income Latinas residing in California.

Methods: Using data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) 2001-2005, we analyzed household food security from all adults with household income less than 200% of the federal poverty level (n=3,982). Immigrant generational status was determined by the birthplaces of the respondent and respondent's parents. Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used to test the significance of associations between food security, obesity and daily fruit and vegetable intake by generational status.

Results: A substantial fraction of the population was food insecure (n=1,412)9.4% experienced food insecurity with hunger and an additional 26.2% experienced food insecurity without hunger in the previous year. Likelihood of being obese (BMI >30) increased with generational status even after adjusting for age. The unadjusted obesity rate among third generation Latinas was 29.3% as compared to 25.5% among first generation Latinas (P<0.01). After controlling for individual characteristics, we found that food insecurity without hunger was associated with obesity among third generation Latinas, but not among first or second generation Latinas (OR=2.12, P<0.01). Differing diet quality by generational status is one potential explanation for this finding. First and second generation Latinas were significantly more likely to consume the recommended quantity of five fruits and vegetables per day than third generation Latinas (53.4% versus 35.8%, P<0.001).

Conclusions: Cultural norms regarding food consumption behavior may play a role in tempering the relationship between food security status and obesity.

Learning Objectives:
1. Consider the factors contributing to food security status 2. Investigate a theory relating food security and obesity 3. Explore non-income determinants of health

Keywords: Food Security, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary investigator for this paper. My co-authors, Roland and Tamara, have also contributed significantly to this work.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.