Dietary assimilation and health among hispanic immigrants to the United States

J Health Soc Behav. 2007 Dec;48(4):404-17. doi: 10.1177/002214650704800405.


Three important findings emerge from this study using New Immigrant Survey data to examine dietary change and health among Hispanic immigrants. First, individuals who have been in the United States longer report a greater degree of dietary change. Second, after controlling for behavioral characteristics and preexisting diet-related conditions (diagnoses of high blood pressure and diabetes prior to coming to the United States), more dramatic levels of change in diet are associated with higher measures of body mass index. Based on respondents' comparisons of their current health to their health just prior to their most recent trip to the United States, change in diet as a result of immigrating to the United States is positively correlated with both better health and worse health. Among individuals reporting greater levels of dietary change, those with worse health have been in the United States for longer and are more likely to report the use of English at work than those reporting better health, factors that indicate acculturation and exposure to broader U.S. society.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adult
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States