The Double Burden of Food Insecurity and Obesity Among Latino Youth: Understanding the Role of Generational Status

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sandra E. Echeverría, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Background: Obesity is linked to food insecurity and generational status; however, little is known about how both impact obesity risk among Latino youth. Objective: To investigate the joint effect of generational status and food insecurity on obesity prevalence among Latino youth. Methods: We pooled data from the 2011 to 2017 waves of the National Health Interview Survey to derive a sample Latino youth aged 12 to 17 (N = 7532). Four generational categories were constructed: first generation (foreign-born children); second generation (US-born child; foreign-born parent[s]); 2.5 generation (US-born child; one foreign-born parent and one US-born parent); third generation (US-born child; U.S.-born parent[s]). Food insecurity was defined by monthly instances of food scarcity over the past year. Obesity was measured using age- and sex-specific body mass index percentile cut-offs. Log-binomial multivariable regression models estimated the association between generational status and food insecurity categories on obesity. Results: Obesity percentages among food-insecure households ranged from 12.8% in the first generation, 15.8% in the second, 24.3% in the 2.5, and 19.2% in the third. In fully adjusted models, 2.5 generation food secure youth had the highest prevalence of obesity (aPR: 1.53; 95% CI, 1.09-2.16) when compared with first generation food secure youth, followed by third generation food insecure youth (aPR: 1.49; 95% CI, 1.01-2.20). Conclusions: Food security status is associated with increased obesity prevalence among Latino youth across the generations. Given that obesity is a risk factor for top causes of mortality and morbidity, growing rates among this population is of public health and clinical importance.

Additional Information

Pediatric Obesity. 2019 Apr 25:e12525
Language: English
Date: 2019
Childhood obesity, food insecurity, generational status, Latinos

Email this document to