Measures of Acculturation and Relations to zBMI among Mexican-Origin Youth



Risk for obesity increases for Mexican-origin immigrants and their children upon arrival in the USA. Acculturative factors have been shown to play a role, but the significance and directionality of this relation may differ based on the method used to measure acculturation.


This study examines the cross-sectional relations between several measures of acculturation and child zBMI, as well as the 12-month longitudinal relations between these measures and child BMI (adjusted for age and gender), in a sample of 102 6- to 11-year-old, Mexican-origin youth.


Cross-sectional results indicated that two measures, greater preference for English and higher Anglo Orientation, were positively associated cross-sectionally with higher zBMI (p = 0.002 and p = 0.011, respectively). Only English language preference remained significant in longitudinal analyses (p = 0.047). Parental duration of residence and the child’s number of immigrant parents were not significantly associated with zBMI cross-sectionally or BMI longitudinally.


These findings suggest that language proxy measures of acculturation present similar findings to multidimensional measures when assessing child weight and support the idea that behavioral or emotional changes that accompany integration into US culture may contribute to obesity development.

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This study was funded by the Foundation for Child Development (Grant Number: LUC-1-13).

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Correspondence to Dorothy McLeod Loren.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

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Loren, D.M., Bohnert, A. & Santiago, C.D. Measures of Acculturation and Relations to zBMI among Mexican-Origin Youth. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 6, 364–370 (2019).

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  • Acculturation
  • Weight
  • Obesity
  • Latino
  • Children