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NYU research looks to combat US Latina immigrant obesity
Date:7/31/2014

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States, comprising 16.7% of the population. Approximately one-third of Latinos are obese and are 1.2 times as likely to be obese compared to non-Hispanic Whites.

NYU College of Nursing student researcher Lauren Gerchow, BSN, RN, MSN candidate, has sought to identify the factors that contribute to this problem by compiling a systematic review of qualitative studies that focused on food patterns in Latina women recently published in Nursing Research.

"The review focuses on women in particular, because they are usually the primary caretakers, with responsibility for food-related decisions," said Gerchow. "We performed this analysis in the hopes of identifying common food patterns across Latino culture and within Latino subcultures, and to inform future research by determining gaps in the existing literature."

Gerchow encountered several disparities in her review of thirteen studies, through which she was able to outline the complexity surrounding this issue and provide recommendations for future research on this topic.

"A particularly troubling discrepancy found was that the definition of Latino varied considerably between studies, with four even considering Latinos a single ethnic group with no cultural differentiation for analytical purposes," noted Gerchow. "We found that these purportedly qualitative studies, of which findings are not supposed to be generalizable, were consistently reporting ways their findings could be generalized across Latino populations."

Gerchow and her team found that despite researchers and providers acknowledging the importance of cultural differences based on country of origin in this population, there was no change in practice or methods of the studies. Contributing to the need for specification is the fact that food words vary between countries, therefore Latinos may be unable to rely o
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Contact: Christopher James
christopher.james@nyu.edu
212-998-6876
New York University
Source:Eurekalert

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