The Impact of Acculturation Level on Weight Status and Weight Outcomes in Hispanic Children

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2016 Dec;3(4):582-589. doi: 10.1007/s40615-015-0177-9. Epub 2015 Nov 11.


Background: Previous studies revealed that higher levels of acculturation are related to obesity in Hispanic adults. Conflicting findings exist regarding this relationship in children, and little is known about the impact of acculturation on children's success in pediatric weight management programs. The purposes of the study were to (1) examine the relationship between acculturation and overweight/obese weight status and (2) determine the impact of acculturation on the changes in weight status among overweight/obese children 12 and 24 months after having participated in a weight management intervention.

Methods: This is a secondary analysis of aggregated data from three randomized control trials that occurred between 2005 and 2009. Height, weight, and level of acculturation using the Child Short Scale for Hispanics (C-SASH) were measured in a sample of Hispanic children (n = 559). Logistic regression models were used to study phase 1 (n = 559) and phase 2 (n = 142), controlling for child and family characteristics.

Results: Children reporting high levels of acculturation had a 52 % lower odds of being overweight or obese. Among overweight/obese children who participated in the intervention, high levels of acculturation demonstrated greater reductions in standardized body mass index (zBMI) at 24 months.

Conclusions: The results of this study indicate a need to tailor weight management programs for Hispanic children who have lower levels of acculturation.

Keywords: Acculturation; Adolescents; Hispanic; Obesity; School-based program.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Pediatric Obesity / ethnology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Weight Loss