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Acculturation and the Prevalence of Diabetes in US Latino Adults, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007–2010
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    Introduction

    US Latinos are growing at the fastest rate of any racial/ethnic group in the United States and have the highest lifetime risk of diabetes. Acculturation may increase the risk of diabetes among all Latinos, but this hypothesis has not been studied in a nationally representative sample. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that acculturation was associated with an increased risk of diabetes in such a sample.

    Methods

    We conducted a cross-sectional analysis including 3,165 Latino participants in the 2007–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants with doctor-diagnosed diabetes and participants without diagnosed diabetes who had glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) values of 6.5% or higher were classified as having diabetes. An acculturation score, ranging from 0 (lowest) to 3 (highest), was calculated by giving 1 point for each of 3 characteristics: being born in the United States, speaking predominantly English, and living in the United States for 20 years or more. Logistic regression was used to determine the association between acculturation and diabetes.

    Results

    The prevalence of diabetes among Latinos in our sample was 12.4%. After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, the likelihood of diabetes (95% confidence interval [CI]) increased with level of acculturation— 1.71 (95% CI, 1.31–2.23), 1.63 (95% CI, 1.11–2.39), and 2.05 (95% CI, 1.27–3.29) for scores of 1, 2, and 3, respectively. This association persisted after further adjustment for body mass index (BMI), total dietary calories, and physical inactivity.

    Conclusion

    Acculturation was associated with a higher risk of diabetes among US Latinos, and this risk was only partly explained by BMI and weight-related behaviors. Future research should examine the bio-behavioral mechanisms that underlie the relationship between acculturation and diabetes in Latinos.

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