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Open Access Health Behaviors among Low-income Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Women

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Objectives: We determined relationships between food behaviors and health-risk factors by acculturation among limited-income Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women. Methods: Women aged 18-49 years were recruited from income-based programs in metro-Phoenix, Arizona. Self-administered surveys in English or Spanish included demographics, a 10-item food behavior checklist, health-risk factors, food security, and acculturation. Differences by 4 acculturation/ethnicity categories were assessed with chi-square and analysis of variance (ANOVA). We created a food behavior scale. Results: Eighty-two percent self-identified as Hispanic (N = 358), with 45% Hispanic-dominant, 25% bicultural, 12% English-dominant, and 18% non-Hispanic white for acculturation status. Food behavior checklist results showed that English-dominant Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women were more likely to feed their children soon after waking, refrigerate meat/dairy promptly, not add salt to food, smoke cigarettes and be food insecure (p < .001). Education, not acculturation, was a significant predictor of the food behavior scale. BMI did not differ by acculturation, but 33% of Hispanic-dominant Latinas did not know their height and/or weight. These less acculturated Latinas had significantly greater food security, but lacked health insurance and years of education. Conclusions: Program outreach tailored by acculturation that considers educational level is needed to emphasize existing positive behaviors and address knowledge gaps among low socioeconomic women to improve health and reduce disparities.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, IA;, Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, Iowa State University. Ames, IA 3: University of Arizona Maricopa County Cooperative Extension, Phoenix, Arizona 4: Departments of Political Science and Statistics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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