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Title:Exploring the association between Hispanic mothers’ acculturation and children’s health outcome in the United States and Mexico: Considering family mealtime routines
Author(s):Villegas, Elizabeth
Director of Research:Fiese, Barbara H.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Fiese, Barbara H.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Wiley, Angela; Ferguson, Gail; Teran-Garcia, Margarita
Department / Program:Human Dvlpmt & Family Studies
Discipline:Human Dvlpmt & Family Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Hispanic health
Acculturation, Mealtime Routines
Abstract:Obesity has become a pressing issue for Hispanic populations in the United States (U.S.) as well as for the Mexican population in Mexico with prevalence steadily increasing over the last quarter century for both adults and children (Flegal, 2016; Skinner et al., 2018). Given these high obesity rates and the link between obesity and numerous health and psychosocial illnesses (Guh et al., 2009; Hales, Carroll, Fryar, Ogden, 2017; Pulgarón, 2013), understanding cultural and family level patterns could suggest promising interventions and health implications for addressing these health disparities. Therefore, these studies sought to examine how acculturation processes and the practice of routines affect dietary patterns and the risk for obesity among Hispanic children. Study 1. Focus group data were analyzed to understand the perspective of Hispanic mothers concerning their behaviors and routines around family mealtimes. This study compared families’ experiences in two countries (Mexico and the United States). Through this comparison, an explanation of barriers and facilitators to maintain healthy family mealtimes and dietary patterns were presented. Findings showed three main themes, 1) Mom shops and cooks the food, but kids and fathers command the food, 2) Family meals are different than before, and globalization is a contributing factor, and 3) Family time has shifted to weekend endeavors eating out at restaurants and fast food chains. These findings gave insight into how globalization and acculturation play a role in family dynamics and rules around mealtime behaviors. Study 2. Due to past complex and equivocal findings in research examining unidimensional frameworks of acculturation, study two sought to test child health outcomes by understanding mediation and moderation effects of mealtime routines on maternal bidimensional acculturation. 189 immigrant mothers completed a questionnaire assessing bidimensional acculturation, household mealtime planning and frequency, child dietary behaviors, and body mass index was measured for mother-child dyads. Acculturation was significantly associated with their child’s weight status, particularly for mothers with assimilated strategies regardless of their level of mealtime planning. Additionally, longer time in the U.S. was associated with lower levels of mealtimes planning. These findings have implications for how intervention programs discuss household routines and their importance in health outcomes. These studies complement each other and expand literature considering cultural influences on Hispanic health. With the increasing rates of obesity risk, these studies have implications for future directions and suggestions for continuing efforts in combating health disparities.
Issue Date:2019-04-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Elizabeth Villegas
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23
Date Deposited:2019-05

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