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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Ennis SR, Rios-Vargas, M, Albert NG. The Hispanic population: 2010. 2011;
Hernández-Valero MA, Bustamante-Montes LP, Hernández M, Halley-Castillo E, Wilkinson AV, Bondy ML, et al. Higher risk for obesity among Mexican–American and Mexican immigrant children and adolescents than among peers in Mexico. J Immigr Minor Health. 2012;14:517–22.
Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA. 2014;311:806–14.
Oza-Frank R, Cunningham SA. The weight of US residence among immigrants: a systematic review. Obes Rev Off J Int Assoc Study Obes. 2010;11:271–80.
Reilly JJ, Kelly J. Long-term impact of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence on morbidity and premature mortality in adulthood: systematic review. Int J Obes. 2011;35:891–8.
Branscum P, Sharma M. A systematic analysis of childhood obesity prevention interventions targeting Hispanic children: lessons learned from the previous decade. Obes Rev Off J Int Assoc Study Obes. 2011;12:e151–8.
Arlinghaus KR, Moreno JP, Reesor L, Hernandez DC, Johnston CA. Compañeros: high school students mentor middle school students to address obesity among Hispanic adolescents. Prev Chronic Dis. 2017;14:170130.
Alegria M. The challenge of acculturation measures: what are we missing? A commentary on Thomson & Hoffman-Goetz. Soc Sci Med 1982. 2009;69:996–8.
Berry JW. Conceptual approaches to acculturation. In: Chun KM, Balls P, Mar G, editors. Acculturation: advances in theory, measurement, and applied research. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association; 2003. p. 17–37.
Thomson MD, Hoffman-Goetz L. Defining and measuring acculturation: a systematic review of public health studies with Hispanic populations in the United States. Soc Sci Med 1982. 2009;69:983–91.
Van Hook J, Baker E. Big boys and little girls: gender, acculturation, and weight among young children of immigrants. J Health Soc Behav. 2010;51:200–14.
Delavari M, Sønderlund AL, Swinburn B, Mellor D, Renzaho A. Acculturation and obesity among migrant populations in high income countries—a systematic review. BMC Public Health. 2013;13:458.
Liu J, Probst JC, Harun N, Bennett KJ, Torres ME. Acculturation, physical activity, and obesity among Hispanic adolescents. Ethn Health. 2009;14:509–25.
Cuellar I, Arnold B, Maldonado R. Acculturation rating scale for Mexican Americans-II: a revision of the original ARSMA scale. Hisp J Behav Sci. 1995;17:275–304.
Matheson DM, Robinson TN, Varady A, Killen JD. Do Mexican-American mothers’ food-related parenting practices influence their children’s weight and dietary intake? J Am Diet Assoc. 2006;106:1861–5.
Marin G, Sabogal F, Marin BV, Otero-Sabogal R, Perez-Stable EJ. Development of a short acculturation scale for Hispanics. Hisp J Behav Sci. 1987;9:183–205.
McLeod DL, Buscemi J, Bohnert AM. Becoming American, becoming obese? A systematic review of acculturation and weight among Latino youth. Obes Rev Off J Int Assoc Study Obes. 2016;17:1040–9.
Tabachnick BG, Fidell LS. Using multivariate statistics. 6th ed. Boston: Pearson Education; 2013.
Balistreri KS, Van Hook J. Socioeconomic status and body mass index among Hispanic children of immigrants and children of natives. Am J Public Health. 2009;99:2238–46.
Fuentes-Afflick E, Hessol NA. Overweight in young Latino children. Arch Med Res. 2008;39:511–8.
Hernández-Valero MA, Wilkinson AV, Forman MR, Etzel CJ, Cao Y, Bárcenas CH, et al. Maternal BMI and country of birth as indicators of childhood obesity in children of Mexican origin. Obes Silver Spring Md. 2007;15:2512–9.
Peugh JL, Enders CK. Using the SPSS mixed procedure to fit cross-sectional and longitudinal multilevel models. Educ Psychol Meas. 2005;65:717–41.
Kakinami L, Henderson M, Chiolero A, Cole TJ, Paradis G. Identifying the best body mass index metric to assess adiposity change in children. Arch Dis Child. 2014;99:1020–4.
Cole TJ, Faith MS, Pietrobelli A, Heo M. What is the best measure of adiposity change in growing children: BMI, BMI %, BMI z-score, or BMI centile? Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005;59(3):419–25.
Jandasek B, Holmbeck GN, DeLucia C, Zebracki K, Friedman D. Trajectories of family processes across the adolescent transition in youth with spina bifida. J Fam Psychol JFP J Div Fam Psychol Am Psychol Assoc Div 43. 2009;23:726–38.
DeLucia C, Pitts SC. Applications of individual growth curve modeling for pediatric psychology research. J Pediatr Psychol. 2006;31:1002–23.
Popkin BM, Udry JR. Adolescent obesity increases significantly in second and third generation U.S. immigrants: the national longitudinal study of adolescent health. J Nutr. 1998;128:701–6.
Rosas LG, Guendelman S, Harley K, Fernald LCH, Neufeld L, Mejia F, et al. Factors associated with overweight and obesity among children of Mexican descent: results of a binational study. J Immigr Minor Health. 2011;13:169–80.
Murillo R, Albrecht SS, Daviglus ML, Kershaw KN. The role of physical activity and sedentary behaviors in explaining the association between acculturation and obesity among Mexican-American adults. Am J Health Promot AJHP. 2015;30:50–7.
Pérez-Escamilla R. Acculturation, nutrition, and health disparities in Latinos. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93:1163S–7S.
Abbatangelo-Gray J, Byrd-Bredbenner C, Austin SB. Health and nutrient content claims in food advertisements on Hispanic and mainstream prime-time television. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2008;40(6):348–54.
Portes A, Hao L. The price of uniformity: language, family and personality adjustment in the immigrant second generation. Ethn Racial Stud. 2002;25:889–912.
Shrewsbury V, Wardle J. Socioeconomic status and adiposity in childhood: a systematic review of cross-sectional studies 1990-2005. Obesity. 2008;16(2):275–84.
Martinez CR, Schwartz SJ, Thier M, McClure HH. A tale of two measures: concordance between the ARSMA-II and the BIQ acculturation scales among Latino immigrant families. Psychol Assess. 2018;30:459–73.
This study was funded by the Foundation for Child Development (Grant Number: LUC-1-13).
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.
About this article
Cite this article
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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-018-00533-0