Faculty Publications – College of Science and Health


Becoming American, becoming obese? A systematic review of acculturation and weight among Latino youth

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Latino youth have the highest rate of overweight and obesity across ethnic and racial groups, placing these individuals at increased risk for a variety of negative immediate and long‐term health outcomes. Many studies have shown that acculturative factors play a role in this process for adults, while less is known about the impact of these factors for children and adolescents. This study systematically reviews the current literature on acculturative factors and obesity among Latino children. Three hundred and seventy‐nine studies were independently reviewed by two coders for eligibility. Twenty‐nine studies met eligibility criteria and were included in the final review. Results indicated that relations between acculturation and obesity among Latino children are equivocal. Across studies reviewed, the significance and directionality of this relation differed. Heterogeneity across studies reviewed, including age, specific population and measures used for assessing acculturation, likely contributed to the mixed results. To provide greater clarity on the role of acculturative factors on obesity, future studies should (i) utilize a longitudinal design; (ii) control for potential confounding factors such as socioeconomic status; and (iii) examine potential moderating and mediating influences.