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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Mineral and Vitamin Interventions for At-risk Populations

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research Unit

Title: Ethnicity, acculturation and overweight: A longitudinal study among Asian, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white early adolescent females

Authors
item Fialkowski, Marie -
item Ettienne-Gittens, Reynolette -
item Shvetsov, Yurii -
item Rivera, Rebecca -
item Van Loan, Marta
item Savaiano, Dennis -
item Boushey, Carol -

Submitted to: Adolescent Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 3, 2014
Publication Date: October 3, 2014
Citation: Fialkowski, M.K., Ettienne-Gittens, R., Shvetsov, Y.B., Rivera, R.L., Van Loan, M.D., Savaiano, D.A., Boushey, C.J. 2014. Ethnicity, acculturation and overweight: A longitudinal study among Asian, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white early adolescent females. Adolescent Health. 5: 1-7.

Interpretive Summary: In the past two decades the proportion of the population that is overweight or obese has increased dramatically with the largest increases seen in minority communities. The cause of the greater increase in overweight and obesity in minorities is unknown, but may be due to differences in acculturation, the degree that practices of the majority culture have been adopted by the minority community. We examined the relationships among overweight status, ethnic group, and acculturation among Asian, Hispanic and White adolescent girls from six different states ranging from Hawaii to Ohio. Body weight, anthropometric and acculturation data were collected on each girl over an 18-month period. Acculturation characteristics included generation in the US and language spoken at home. An examination of the proportion of overweight girls across the 3 ethnic groups showed that the Hispanic girls had the largest proportion of overweight compared to Asian and White girls. Similarly the probability of not becoming overweight during the 18-month study period was significantly related to ethnic group. Again, the proportion of Hispanic girls becoming overweight was higher than for either the Asian or White girls. These results leave many questions unanswered and warrant further exploration into issues associated with overweight especially among Hispanic girls.

Technical Abstract: The prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents has increased over the past decade. Prevalence rates are disparate among certain racial and ethnic groups. In this study, the relationship between overweight status (> 85th percentile according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts) and ethnic group, as well as acculturation (generation and language spoken in the home) was longitudinally assessed among Asian (n=160), Hispanic (n=217), and non-Hispanic (n=304) early adolescent girls. There were no significant associations between overweight status and acculturation, however, over an 18-month period, the proportion of Hispanic girls becoming overweight was greater than their Asian and non-Hispanic White counterparts. These results warrant further exploration into issues associated with overweight especially among Hispanic girls.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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