Examining the association between acculturation indicators and metabolic syndrome among Hispanic adults
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The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between acculturation indicators and metabolic syndrome (MetS) among Hispanic adults living in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area in Texas. MetS is a pressing public health problem, and Hispanics have the highest prevalence among all ethnic groups in the United States (35.4%). MetS is a cluster of five risk factors (blood pressure, waist circumference, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, and triglycerides) that increase a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Currently, Hispanics are the second-largest ethnic group in the United States, and more than one-third of the U.S. Hispanic population is foreign-born. As immigrants and subsequent generations are exposed to the mainstream U.S. culture, the process of acculturation impacts their lifestyle behaviors and health. Acculturation indicators (nativity, duration in the United States, and scores from the Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics) and the five MetS markers were assessed among 128 adult participants. Logistic regression modeling was conducted to predict MetS status (present/not present) by acculturation indicators and covariates (sex, age, and education). Additional analyses were conducted to assess the relationship between each individual MetS marker, acculturation indicators, and the identified covariates. For every one-unit increase in a participant’s duration in the United States (measured in years), the likelihood of having abnormal blood pressure increased by 6% and the likelihood of having abnormal blood glucose increased by 5%. Results indicate increasing exposure to the mainstream American culture negatively impacts health risks and status among Hispanics. The primary treatment for MetS is lifestyle modification that includes regular physical activity, healthy eating, and weight loss. Health care providers can aid in reducing MetS prevalence by raising awareness of the condition and associated risk factors among their patients as well as recommending lifestyle modification to reduce their risk. Study results can aid health educators in planning, implementing, and evaluating health communication campaigns and health education/promotion programs to prevent MetS among Hispanics. Further examination of what changes occur in health behaviors that increase risk of MetS would provide further insight into why duration in the United States is associated with elevated blood pressure and elevated fasting blood glucose levels.