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Title:Influences of maternal acculturation on early childhood obesity risk: From countries to chromosomes
Author(s):Aguayo, Liliana
Director of Research:Schwingel, Andiara
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Schwingel, Andiara
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Andrade, Flavia; Khan, Naiman; Teran-Garcia, Margarita; Wiley, Angela
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Discipline:Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Maternal acculturation, Childhood obesity, Mexican, Hispanic/Latino, Health Disparities, telomere lengths, metabolic health, early childhood
Abstract:Prevalence of obesity has disproportionately increased among Mexican children living in the US and Mexico. In the US, by 2014, prevalence of obesity among children of Mexican heritage was similar for US-born and Mexican born children. In Mexico, from 1999 to 2006, obesity prevalence among children ages 5 to 11 years old increased by 40%. Acculturation to the US culture has been linked to an ‘immigrant health advantage’ for foreign-born, and less acculturated Hispanic/ Latinos, and increases in obesity prevalence for the more acculturated counterparts. Modern forms of globalization have led to modern forms of communications facilitating the development of ‘meaningful interpersonal interactions’ which can also produce acculturation remotely. In lieu of the disproportionately high obesity increases among Mexican children in the US and Mexico, the objective of this dissertation is to investigate if currently, modern forms of acculturation influence obesity risks of young Mexican children living in the US and Mexico. Using the socio-ecological framework of the Six-C’s model and data from the Family-based Intergenerational Evaluation of Salivary Telomere-lengths and Acculturation (FIESTA!) study this dissertation examines the influence of maternal acculturation on early childhood obesity risks from three different perspectives. Recruitment for the FIESTA Study took place at a low-income Kindergarten in Central Mexico, and in Central Illinois. Mothers completed a questionnaire that examined their level of acculturation to the US, and Mexican cultures, as well as the family nutrition and physical activity habits, and socioeconomic characteristics. Measurements from fasting glucose, lipid profile, saliva bios, and bioelectrical impedance analyses were collected from mother-child dyads (n=113). We identified 75% of mothers and 31% of children in our sample had overweight or obesity. The first study revealed that living in the US was associated with lower child body fat (b =-1.49, p <0.05); and higher HDL-cholesterol (b =12.13, p <0.05). There was also a marginal interaction among children living in the US, suggesting that higher maternal acculturation to the Mexican culture was associated with higher child total cholesterol (p =0.07). The second study showed that among children and mothers with the lowest level of acculturation to the US, longer telomere lengths were associated with lower adiposity in weight. There were no intergenerational associations between mother’s salivary telomere lengths and their children’s adiposity and vice versa. In the last study, we identified different behaviors associated with both maternal acculturation to the US and Mexican culture, and childhood obesity risks. The association of family sleep routine with child fat mass and maternal acculturation to the US, and Mexican culture introduces a potential venue for intervention and obesity prevention. Other behaviors associated with child obesity risks included monitoring screen time, and promoting a healthy environment with opportunities for physical activity, and limited screen exposure for children. Together, findings highlight the importance of using a socio-ecological framework to better understand the different factors influencing early childhood obesity risks, and suggest new venues for intervention.
Issue Date:2018-07-09
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Liliana Aguayo
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-27
Date Deposited:2018-08

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