A STUDY OF DIETARY PATTERNS IN THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN POPULATION AND THEIR ASSOCIATION WITH OBESITY
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Ethnic groups have different dietary patterns based on their geographical locations and various cultural influences. We examined the dietary patterns of Mexican-Americans and their association with total and central obesity. We hypothesized that Mexican-American adults following a traditional diet would have a lower prevalence of obesity than those following a more typically American diet. Data from the NHANES 2001-2002 included 835 Mexican-American adults, aged 18 y and older. Dietary patterns were defined by cluster analysis of food group variables, expressed as percentage contribution to total energy intake. Obesity was assessed by body mass index (BMI, kg/m²) and central obesity by waist circumference. Surprisingly, we did not identify a "healthy pattern" group in this population, as has been generally observed in other ethnic groups. Contrary to our hypothesis, the traditional diet pattern was associated with higher values of BMI and waist circumference.