Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Talmage M. Holmes


Mexican Americans, one of the fastest growing segments of the population, have been identified as having above-average rates of obesity. Yet, among this group, obesity rates seem to differ by immigrant status: recent immigrants, immigrants who have lived in the United States more than 15 years, and U.S.-born Mexican Americans. Guided by the acculturation phenomenon and the social ecological model, the current study assessed all 1,732 Mexican American children 12-19 years old who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2008 to determine the association between body mass index (BMI) and language, years living in the United States, citizenship, birth country, household income and size, and school attendance. Analysis of variance and linear regression were used for statistical analysis. All of these variables were significantly associated with BMI in both the bivariate and linear regression analysis, although the R-squared value was small at .138, indicating that additional factors not included in this study also influence BMI. Measuring obesity and the correlated acculturation variables with currently available data sets will provide insight in the planning and administering effective interventions for Mexican American children 12-19 years of age and promote the global social change goal of healthy weights for all children.