“At Risk” Cardiovascular Health Profiles: Metabolic Dysregulation through Acculturative Processes for Hispanic Men and Women in the United States

Open Access
Logan, Ellis Scott
Graduate Program:
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
September 15, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Stephen Augustus Matthews, Thesis Advisor
  • Melissa Hardy, Thesis Advisor
  • Marianne Messersmith Hillemeier, Thesis Advisor
  • Health
  • Metabolic
  • Acculturation
  • Biomarker
  • Hispanic
  • sex
This research uses three waves of NHANES data (1999-2004) to investigate the impact of acculturation (using the length of time spent in the U.S., generational designation, citizenship status, and a linguistic acculturation scale) on the metabolic health (using blood sugar levels, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, and total serum triglycerides) of adult Hispanics living in the United States. As an “upstream” indicator of potential “downstream” cardiovascular morbidities such as diabetes, biological indicators of metabolic health are an effective way to investigate the origins of health disparities and create early intervention programs for health officials. The paper merges two critical demographic trends, the recent increases in migration of Hispanics to the U.S. and the escalation of cardiovascular diseases to consider four primary foci: to demonstrate the superiority of a metabolic health index rather than a binary “cut off” measure for metabolic wellness, to compare Hispanic metabolic health compared to the aggregate U.S. population, to model relationships between each acculturation metric and the metabolic health index as well as each individual metabolic biomarker, and to demonstrate heterogeneity among Hispanics regarding acculturation metrics and metabolic health. Using OLS, Poisson, and logistic regression models I find that in general, increased acculturation is deleterious to the metabolic health profiles of Hispanics. However sex moderates these relationships, lending credence to divergent metabolic health destinies for acculturating male and female Hispanics. Considerable heterogeneity in the relationships between the four acculturative markers and the six metabolic health indicators exist, yielding a multifarious illustration of the interplay between cardiovascular health and acculturation.