The relation of acculturation to overweight, obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes among U.S. Mexican-American women and men

Ethn Dis. 2012 Winter;22(1):58-64.


Objective: To estimate and compare the prevalences of overweight, obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes among a nationally representative sample of Mexican-American, non-Latino white and black adults, and by acculturation for Mexican-Americans.

Design, settings and participants: The NHANES 1999-2008 data sets were used. Binomial regression models were used to compute prevalence ratios and their respective 95% confidence intervals to assess the relationships of race/ethnicity and acculturation with obesity, overweight, pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Main outcome measures: Overweight, obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes.

Results: Mexican Americans had a higher prevalence of overweight than white non-Latinos and Black non-Latinos. Obesity was significantly more prevalent among the most acculturated Mexican Americans but not the least acculturated. In contrast, the least acculturated Mexican Americans had the highest prevalence of overweight. The prevalence of pre-diabetes was higher among Mexican Americans than white non-Latinos and black non-Latinos. The most acculturated Mexican Americans had a higher prevalence of diabetes and the prevalence of pre-diabetes was elevated in less acculturated Mexican Americans. In both unadjusted and adjusted models, the less acculturated were significantly more likely to be overweight and significantly less likely to be obese, compared to more acculturated Mexican Americans, and acculturation was not associated with diabetes or prediabetes in adjusted models.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that obesity was less prevalent among the least acculturated Mexican-Americans but overweight was more prevalent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / ethnology*
  • Prediabetic State / epidemiology
  • Prediabetic State / ethnology*
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • United States / epidemiology