Immigration and Weight Gain: Mexican-American Women’s Perspectives
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- Lindberg, N.M. & Stevens, V.J. J Immigrant Minority Health (2011) 13: 155. doi:10.1007/s10903-009-9298-8
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There is an urgent need for effective and accessible culturally-sensitive weight-loss interventions for the Mexican-American population. It is imperative that cultural factors be taken into account when designing weight-loss interventions targeting this population. As a first step in this direction, this study examined the experiences, concerns, and beliefs regarding diet, weight and weight loss of Mexican-American immigrant women. Focus groups were conducted with Mexican-American women (n = 25) between the ages of 20 and 63, from the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. Major themes identified in the discussions included important lifestyle changes brought about by immigration, the challenges of adopting “American ways,” lack of nutritional information, and the difficulties in making food choices given the complexities of the family context. Behavioral interventions must provide culturally-centered behavioral strategies addressing some of the difficulties identified in this study. Specific suggestions are provided for the development of weight-loss interventions for this population.