Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Health Promotion, Education and Behavior

Sub-Department

The Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health

First Advisor

Rachel E. Davis

Abstract

The growing prevalence of chronic disease among the U.S. Hispanic population has drawn increasing attention to modifiable behaviors such as diet in an effort to curb the burden of disease among this population. While factors affecting dietary intake among U.S. Hispanics have been largely studied, this study broadens the scope of existing analyses from examining the role of individual-level factors, including acculturation, to also include environmental factors such as neighborhood ethnic composition. Multilevel mixed modeling was employed to test the interaction of individual acculturation with neighborhood ethnic composition to predict vegetable intake among a sample of U.S. Hispanics. Individuals who participated in a cross-sectional survey were linked with census-tract level data for where they lived. The study sample consisted of 851 Hispanic individuals of Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban origin and included 671 census tracts, as proxies for neighborhoods, with data regarding the proportion of Hispanics residing within each census tract. No significant interactions were observed between acculturation and neighborhood ethnic composition to predict vegetable intake. These results emerged from a unique sample not previously examined and suggest avenues for future research to continue disentangling the complex process of acculturation, neighborhood contributions to the acculturative process, and dietary quality overall. This information is critical for the development of effective health promotion strategies for Hispanics in the U.S.

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