The mechanisms through which the acculturation process influences dietary intake in Latinos are not well understood. Among Latino families, the acculturation process has been found to be associated with family-level factors including day-to-day interactions and family functioning. Parents who acculturate at a slower rate than their child may be influenced by their children in their food-related behaviors (food purchasing, meal preparation, and foods consumed outside of the home) in ways that increase patens' likelihood of consuming a poor diet (e.g., low in fruits and vegetables and high in fats and sugar). Parents may also experience disengaged, divided, conflicted, or uncommunicative interactions with their acculturated children, and thus, alter their food- related behaviors to appease their children. Findings from this study will inform the understanding of how acculturation and children influence mothers' health behaviors. Specifically, this study will explore the impact of mother-child acculturation discordance on mothers' food-related behaviors and dietary intake. Once it is known whether acculturation discordance and children play a role in the dietary behaviors of Latina mothers, strategies can be developed to limit its negative effects on behaviors. This study will use existing data from a family level randomized controlled trial and primary data in the form of daily diaries from a separate sample of mothers living in Imperial County to accomplish the following aims: 1) Explore the relationships between mother- child acculturation discordance, family functioning, food-related behaviors, and dietary intake among Latina mothers; and 2) Examine the role of acculturation discordance on children's influence over their mother's food- related behaviors and dietary intake. Under the first aim, the following two sub-aims will be assessed using longitudinal analysis of secondary data from 181 Latina mother-child dyads at ten months following baseline self-reported measures: 1) Test the influence of acculturation discordance at baseline on mothers' dietary intake at ten months; and 2) Assess the mediating pathway from family functioning to food-related behaviors (i.e., grocery shopping, preparing meals, and away from home eating) in the relationship between acculturation discordance and dietary intake. Under the second aim, daily diaries will be collected over five consecutive days from a separate sample of 45 mothers stratified by type of acculturation discordant mother-child dyad: a) dyads who have both assimilated to US culture, b) dyads who have not assimilated to US culture, and c) dyads with children who have assimilated to US culture and mothers who have not. Few studies assess the influence of children on their parents' behaviors. Thus, this study will address important gaps because it will explore the possible mechanisms for how acculturation and family-level factors influences dietary intake in mothers. The two aims of this proposal are expected to identify the role of family-level factors in the poorly understood relationship between acculturation and dietary intake. These results will provide evidence for the importance of developing tailored approaches for acculturation discordant and concordant families in diet-related interventions.
This study intends to expand on our knowledge regarding the role of acculturation and family dynamics on the dietary behaviors and intake of Latina mothers. These contributions are significant because they will help explain how families influence mothers' dietary intake and because they will enhance our understanding of the pathway between acculturation and dietary intake among Latinos. Understanding these mechanisms and pathways will inform future family-level interventions on how to effectively develop strategies that may improve dietary behaviors and reduce diet-related morbidity, particularly in families whose cultures are centered on the family unit.