Obesity in Hispanic Americans

  1. Gloria Garcia, MPH
  1. Human Nutrition Center, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, Texas
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Milton Z. Nichaman, MD, ScD, Human Nutrition Center, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center, PO Box 20186, Houston, TX 77225.

Abstract

The prevalence of obesity among Hispanic American populations is generally greater than among white populations in the United States. Among Mexican Americans, the prevalence of obesity was higher than among either Cuban Americans or Puerto Ricans. It is well known that the prevalence of diabetes increases with increasing levels of obesity or body mass index. However, it does not appear that the high prevalence of obesity in Mexican Americans completely accounts for the higher prevalence of diabetes seen in this ethnic group. Among Mexican Americans, the association of selected cardiovascular disease risk factors, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol subfractions and systolic blood pressure, was similar to that seen among other U.S. populations. Individuals with diabetes had higher values than seen among those without diabetes. In a comparison of nutrient intake in two Mexican-American populations, one rural and one urban, there were no major differences other than higher calorie intakes in the rural population compared with the urban population. In addition, the diet in the rural population, based on higher levels of the Keys score, was more atherogenic than that of the urban population.

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