Examining the association between acculturation indicators and metabolic syndrome among Hispanic adults
Purpose: To examine the relationship between acculturation indicators and metabolic syndrome among Hispanic adults living in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas metropolitan area.
Methods: This study utilized secondary data collected from a larger 2014 study among 128 Hispanic adults living in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington. The current study examined two research questions: (1) Is there a relationship between acculturation indicators (nativity, duration in the United States, and the Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics score) and metabolic syndrome among Hispanic adults living in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington? (2) Is there a relationship between acculturation indicators and the individual markers associated with metabolic syndrome (high waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated fasting blood glucose, elevated blood triglycerides, and reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol among Hispanic adults living in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington?
Results: Most participants were female (aged 40 and older) born outside of the United States. More than half of the participants had been in the United States fewer than 20 years and revealed lower acculturation scores. More than one-third of the participants also had metabolic syndrome. Prevalence of metabolic syndrome was higher among females compared to males. Most participants had abnormal high-density lipoprotein and waist circumference. Acculturation scores and nativity were not associated with abnormal metabolic syndrome markers. Duration in the United States was not associated with metabolic syndrome markers of high waist circumference, reduced high-density lipoprotein, and elevated blood triglycerides. However, duration in the United States was associated with metabolic syndrome markers of high blood pressure and elevated fasting blood glucose.
Conclusions and Recommendations: Acculturation is a multifaceted, dynamic phenomenon that influences health at multiple levels. Future studies can explore a range of social-ecological factors that interact with acculturation and health. Because metabolic syndrome is considered a “lifestyle syndrome,” there is an additional need to examine behavioral health and relationships among diet, physical activity, and acculturation. Through a social-ecological and culturally relevant lens, health education specialists can lead interprofessional efforts to promote health literacy and healthy lifestyle behaviors among Hispanic individuals and communities. These action steps can be integral components of professional preparation programs that offer students opportunities to engage in service learning and develop core competencies in their disciplines.