Weight Status Among Minnesota Hispanic or Latino/a Youth: An Exploration of Protective Factors

Am J Health Promot. 2023 Feb;37(2):177-188. doi: 10.1177/08901171221120912. Epub 2022 Aug 13.


Purpose: Pediatric obesity disproportionately impacts Hispanic or Latino/a adolescents. Culturally appropriate family-based behavioral initiatives to improve weight status are warranted. The purpose of this research was to determine prevalence rates and identify protective factors associated with having overweight/obesity (body mass index ≥ 85th percentile) to inform Hispanic or Latino/a-targeted behavioral intervention development.

Design: Secondary data analyses of a population-based statewide survey.

Setting: Minnesota public high schools.

Participants: Male (n = 2,644) and female (n = 2,798) Hispanic or Latino/a 9th and 11th graders (N = 5,442).

Measures: Obesity-related behaviors (meeting fruit and vegetable [F&V] and physical activity [PA] recommendations), family caring, family country/region of origin, and weight status.

Analysis: Stepwise logistic regression models (F&V, PA), stratified by biological sex, were used to identify protective factors of overweight/obesity.

Results: The overall prevalence of meeting F&V and PA recommendations was 11.0% and 11.8%, respectively. Meeting F&V recommendations was not protective against overweight/obesity in either sex. Yet, males and females who met PA recommendations had significantly lower odds of having overweight/obesity (p < .05). In F&V and PA models, family caring was protective against overweight/obesity in females (p < .05), and family country/region of origin was protective against overweight/obesity in both sexes (p < .05).

Conclusion: Findings illustrate a need for obesity prevention initiatives for Hispanic or Latino/a youth. More research is needed to understand the protective nature of family caring and country/region of origin.

Keywords: adolescents; community; health policy; racial minority groups; social support; weight control.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Overweight* / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity* / prevention & control
  • Protective Factors
  • Vegetables