Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 149–154 | Cite as

Predictors of Obesity in Latino Children: Acculturation as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Food Insecurity and Body Mass Index Percentile

  • Joanna Buscemi
  • Bettina M. Beech
  • George Relyea
Original Paper


As Latino children acculturate to the United States, they are at risk for excess weight gain. Existing literature suggests that higher levels of food insecurity may predict obesity, but the role of acculturation is not well understood. Latino children ages 2–17 of both immigrant and non-immigrant parents (n = 63) were recruited from a primary care clinic serving low income families. Child anthropometric measures, and parent acculturation and food insecurity measures were collected via self-administered questionnaires. Over 63% of the patients were either overweight or obese according to criteria established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Regression analysis revealed acculturation as a significant moderating variable between food insecurity and BMI percentile, F(5,12) = 4.836, P = .017, R 2 = .707 in children of Latino immigrants. The identification of this relationship may serve to facilitate in the development of future weight-gain prevention interventions in primary care settings within Latino immigrant populations.


Obesity Latino immigrant Acculturation Children Food insecurity Primary care 



The authors would like to acknowledge the following funding source: Assisi Foundation of Memphis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanna Buscemi
    • 1
  • Bettina M. Beech
    • 2
  • George Relyea
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MemphisMemphisUSA
  2. 2.Division of General Internal Medicine and Public HealthVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Center for Community Health and School of Public HealthUniversity of MemphisMemphisUSA

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