Award Date

5-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

First Committee Member

Timothy Bungum, Chair

Second Committee Member

Chad Cross

Third Committee Member

Sheniz Moonie

Graduate Faculty Representative

Yu Xu

Number of Pages

68

Abstract

The U.S. is experiencing a rising prevalence of overweightedness that has been identified as the second leading cause for chronic health conditions threatening public health. Overweightedness has grown disproportionately among ethnic sub-groups. In the fastest going minority population in the U.S., Hispanic Americans are observed with disparately high body mass index, placing them at heightened risk for poor health outcomes. Research suggests five servings of fruit and vegetables, in any combination, provides a sound nutritional base for healthful living and helps to maintain normal body weight.

Americans are known to have poor eating habits while foreign-born populations have well balanced diets that are plentiful in fruit and vegetables. With migration and acculturation to the U.S., migrant diets frequently deteriorate into the poor eating habits of the typical American. The greatest differences are noted between first- and second-generation, however, the negative impact remains relatively unchanged from that point forward.

This study conducts an analysis of secondary data to determine the relationship of overweightedness and fruit and vegetable consumption in a survey sample of Hispanics living in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Secondly, it evaluates the relationship of fruit and vegetable consumption and acculturation, measured by language of preference.

In a sample of 318 respondents, fruit and vegetable consumption was non-significant in association to healthier body weight. However, a chi-square analysis of BMI and daily fruit and vegetables suggests that 87% of those classified as normal weight eat five or more fruits and vegetables daily. Concerning acculturation and daily fruit and vegetable consumption, a sample of 321 respondents demonstrated a significant (p <0.05) relationship between acculturation and fruit and vegetable consumption. The relationship between the two showed that highly acculturated individuals were 6 (S.E. 0.319) times more likely to fall below the minimum daily recommendation for fruit and vegetables daily.

Understanding the general characteristics of Hispanic Americans living in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, and the tendency for overweightedness in the population provides insight for potentially poor health outcomes and a future impact on public health. Targeted health programming may be warranted.

Keywords

Acculturation; Body Mass Index; Food habits; Fruit; Hispanic Americans; Obesity; Vegetables

Disciplines

Human and Clinical Nutrition | Nutrition | Public Health Education and Promotion

Language

English


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