Online Program

Acculturation and Diet Quality among Mexican American Adults in the U.S.: Findings from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008

Sunday, November 1, 2015

YiLin Xu, MPH, Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Louisiana State University-School of Public Health, New Orleans, LA
Stephanie Broyles, Ph.D., Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA
Liwei Chen, MD, PhD, MHS, Department of Public Health Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Richard Scribner, MD, MPH, Epidemiology, LSU School of Public Health, New Orleans, LA
Stephen Phillippi, PhD, LCSW, CCFC, Department of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-School of Public Health, New Orleans, LA
Tung-Sung Tseng, DrPH., M.S., School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA

The diet quality of Mexican Americans (MAs) is changing with the acculturation process. Using the Healthy Eating Index 2010 (HEI2010), this study examined which aspects of diet quality are impacted by acculturation among MAs.


The study included 3739 MAs ≥20 years from NHANES 2001-2008. The USDA Food Pattern Equivalents Database was used to translate NHANES dietary data into equivalent servings of the major food groups according to the HEI2010. The HEI2010 scores 12 components (Total Fruit, Whole Fruit, Total Vegetables, Greens and Beans, Total Protein, Seafood and Plant Proteins, Whole Grains, Dairy, Refined Grains, Fatty Acids, Sodium and Empty Calories) for a total of 100 points. For all components, higher scores indicate closer conformance with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A 0-5 acculturation score was constructed using measures of language use, country of birth, and length of residence in the U.S. Weighted linear regressions assessed associations between acculturation and HEI2010 total and component scores.


The mean HEI2010 total scores for MA men and women were 49.3 (0.3) and 52.0 (0.3) respectively. HEI2010 total and all component scores differed significantly between acculturation levels in unadjusted analyses. In adjusted analyses, a higher degree of acculturation (score 3-5) was associated with lower HEI2010 total score and Total Fruit, Whole Fruit, Greens and Beans, Total Proteins and Empty Calories component scores (all p-value<0.01).


Acculturation was associated with poorer diet quality, especially in aspects of Fruit, Greens and Beans, Protein and Empty Calories. Dietary interventions targeting MAs should consider the effect of acculturation.

Learning Areas:

Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the impact of acculturation on diet quality among Mexican Americans

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Immigrant Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD candidate from Louisiana State University School of Public Health. My dissertation work is about acculturation and diet quality change among Mexican Americans.
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.