Online Program

Obesity and Perceived Discrimination of Latinos in the U.S.: Results from NLAAS

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Amy Ai, PhD, Psychology, Social Work, Family Medicine, and Nursing, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Hoa B. Appel, PhD, MPH, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Univ of Washington Bothell, Bothell, WA
Henry Carretta, PhD MPH, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallhassee, FL
Introduction: One-third of Latina and over 40% of Latino Americans are overweight, while nearly 30% of both groups meet the criteria of obesity. Obesity, a significant public-health concern, is associated with premature death, mental health disorders, substance abuse, and  physical complications. Although Latina/o Americans constitute the largest minority population through rapid growing immigration, few studies have explored acculturation-related predictors for obesity in Latina/os, respectively. To address the gap, this study performed gender-specific and whole-group analyses predicting obesity.

Method:  Using the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS), we conducted three sets of logistic regressions to detect the predictive value of acculturation factors, above and beyond that of socio-demographics, for all Latina/os, 1,427 Latinas, and 1,127 Latinos, respectively.

Results: Latina/os reported same level of acculturation stress but Latinos experienced more discrimination. On average, Latinas were older, less educated, less employed, and poorer English proficiency. For all Latina/os, obesity was predicated by discrimination, alongside US-born and either 5-10 years or 21+ years stay in the US. For Latinas, significant positive predictors were perceived discrimination and older age. In all and female groups, Cubans and other Latina/os appeared to have less likelihood for being obese than Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. For Latinos, however, predictors involved US-born and stay patterns, while Cubans and Puerto Ricans were less likely to be obese. 

Conclusions: Distinctive predictive patterns for obesity in the two gender-subgroups suggest varied influence of the acculturation process for Latinas and Latinos, respectively, which may inform gender-specific behavioral intervention in Latina/os in the US.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify three psychosocial risk factors for that contribute to obesity among Latina/o nationwide. Discuss acculturation stress and protective factors among Latinos in the U.S. Compare the differences between Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. with respect to perceived discrimination and obesity.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked with Dr. Ai on the project at FSU.
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.

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