Residence in Hispanic/Latino Immigrant Neighborhoods, Away-From-Home Food Consumption, and Diet Quality: The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2023 Nov;123(11):1596-1605.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2023.06.283. Epub 2023 Jun 22.


Background: Hispanics/Latinos are disproportionately burdened by nutrition-related diseases but immigrants appear healthier than their US-born counterparts. Neighborhoods characterized by high Hispanic/Latino immigrant segregation may provide environments to support healthier diets.

Objective: To examine whether or not Hispanic/Latino immigrant segregation is associated with frequency of away-from-home food consumption and diet quality in a large, diverse sample of Hispanic/Latino adults.

Design: Cross-sectional baseline data from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos were analyzed (2008-2011). Residential addresses were geocoded and linked to census tract-level 2008-2012 American Community Survey data. Hispanic/Latino immigrant segregation was characterized using the local Getis-Ord Gi∗ statistic, a spatial clustering measure that quantifies the extent to which demographically similar neighborhoods group together.

Participants/setting: Participants were 15,661 adults in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, a population-based study of Hispanic/Latinos aged 18 to 74 years from 4 US regions (Bronx, NY; Chicago, IL; Miami, FL; and San Diego, CA).

Main outcome measures: Away-from-home food consumption was assessed using a modified dietary behavior questionnaire. Diet quality was assessed using the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 (range = 0 to 110) from two 24-hour recalls.

Statistical analysis: Multilevel linear and logistic regression with multilevel weights were used to estimate associations between Hispanic/Latino immigrant segregation (low, medium, or high) with Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 score, and away-from-home food consumption (≥3 vs <3 times/week) in separate models, respectively. The mediating role of neighborhood poverty and whether or not associations differed by nativity were also assessed.

Results: Higher levels of segregation were associated with higher adjusted mean Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 scores; estimates were further magnified after accounting for neighborhood poverty (low segregation: reference category; medium segregation: β = 2.43, 95% CI 1.10 to 3.77; and high segregation: β = 1.63, 95% CI .43 to 2.82). Associations were strongest among the foreign-born compared with the US-born. There was no association between segregation and away-from-home food consumption.

Conclusions: These results highlight the potential role of Hispanic/Latino immigrant neighborhoods in supporting healthy diets among residents, especially immigrants.

Keywords: Diet; Hispanic; Immigrants; Neighborhoods; Segregation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Disorders*
  • Public Health
  • Residence Characteristics