Acculturative stress, cultural values and indicators of wellness in Latina/o adolescents
Nevels, Bailey Johnson
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Previous research found that 34.5% of children in the United States can be classified as either overweight or obese (Ogden & Carroll, 2014). Childhood obesity has affected racial/ethnic minorities disproportionately when compared to their White counterparts (CDC, 2012; Ogden & Carroll, 2010). Researchers demonstrated that obesity is prevalent in more acculturated Latino/a adolescents (Lara et al., 2005), however, the nuances of this relationship were unclear. This study sought to better understand how to promote wellness in the Latina/o community. Latino/a adolescents from the Southeast (N = 69) completed measures of acculturative stress, cultural values, diet, and exercise. Researchers then measured their Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference (WC) measured in order to investigate the relationship between acculturative stress, cultural values, and wellness indicators in the Latino/a adolescent population. We hypothesized that cultural values will mediate the relationship between acculturative stress and indicators of wellness such as diet, exercise, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC). No significant relationship was found between acculturative stress and the wellness indicators. However, researchers found a significant relationship between cultural values and self-reported exercise, suggesting that the more traditional Latino cultural values a participant held, the more exercise they reported. This research demonstrated that cultural values can be a valuable feature of interventions geared toward increasing exercise in this population.