Objectives: We determined relationships between food behaviors and health-risk factors by acculturation among limited-income Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women.
Methods: Women aged 18-49 years were recruited from income-based programs in metro-Phoenix, Arizona. Self-administered surveys in English or Spanish included demographics, a 10-item food behavior checklist, health-risk factors, food security, and acculturation. Differences by 4 acculturation/ethnicity categories were assessed with chi-square and analysis of variance (ANOVA). We created a food behavior scale.
Results: Eighty-two percent self-identified as Hispanic (N = 358), with 45% Hispanic-dominant, 25% bicultural, 12% English-dominant, and 18% non-Hispanic white for acculturation status. Food behavior checklist results showed that English-dominant Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women were more likely to feed their children soon after waking, refrigerate meat/dairy promptly, not add salt to food, smoke cigarettes and be food insecure (p < .001). Education, not acculturation, was a significant predictor of the food behavior scale. BMI did not differ by acculturation, but 33% of Hispanic-dominant Latinas did not know their height and/or weight. These less acculturated Latinas had significantly greater food security, but lacked health insurance and years of education.
Conclusions: Program outreach tailored by acculturation that considers educational level is needed to emphasize existing positive behaviors and address knowledge gaps among low socioeconomic women to improve health and reduce disparities.