Submitted to: American Public Health Association Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/3/2005
Publication Date: 12/10/2005
Citation: Colby, S.E., Morrison, S., Morales, S., Budd, L., Haldeman, L. 2005. Dietary acculturation of Mexican American immigrants: A case study. Presented by Sarah E. Colby at the 133rd American Public Health Association Meeting. Philadelphia, PA. December 10-14, 2005.
Technical Abstract: Objective: Identify dietary changes that occur as Mexican-Americans acculturate to the U.S. Design: A case study was conducted via ethnographic methodology and replication. Data were analyzed using narrative analysis and manual open coding. Setting: Participant observations, questionnaires, and in-depth interviews were conducted with a family in Mexico for a one-week period. Questionnaires and in-depth interviews were conducted with four families in Guilford County, North Carolina. Subjects: One family unit in Mexico and one comparison family unit in North Carolina (represented by a mother and an 11-year-old child) were used as a case comparison. Three additional mother/child pairs in North Carolina were interviewed as replications. Results: Based on self reports from the comparison family in Guilford County, decreased fruit intake was the first change to occur. Decreases in vegetable intake also occurred with acculturation. Consumption of snacks and processed foods increased. Availability, food displacement, and cost were identified as reasons for these changes. Children's diets changed before parents because of their exposure to American foods in school and they were the largest influence on the families' change to a more westernized diet. Conclusions: Education needs to be directed at newly arriving Mexican-American youth. Messages need to focus on the risks of adopting an American diet and promote retention or re-adoption of the healthy traditional diet.