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Prev Med. 1994 Jul;23(4):465-73.

Hispanic/white differences in dietary fat intake among low educated adults and children.

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Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California 94304-1825.



This comparative study tests for ethnic differences in dietary fat consumption in a community-based sample of Hispanic and white adults with low educational attainment (< 12 years of schooling) and a separate sample of their children.


Data are presented for adults (age 20-64, n = 886) and youths (age 12-19, n = 170) from four California cities who participated in one of four sequential cross-sectional surveys (1981-1990).


After adjustment for age, sex, city of residence, and time of survey, white adults were significantly (P < 0.03) more likely than Hispanic adults to have eaten high-fat foods in the last 24 hr, such as red meat (75.7% vs 68.4%), cured meats, (39.1% vs 25.8%), and cheese (41.4% vs 32.7%). Furthermore, white adults consumed significantly (P < 0.001) more fat, as measured by percentage of calories from total fat (37.7% vs 33.3%) and saturated fat (13.7% vs 11.8%), and consumed significantly less dietary carbohydrate (45.5% vs 49.7%) and fiber (17.1 g vs 26.0 g) than Hispanic adults. Ethnic differences were similar for the youth sample (except for carbohydrates), but were generally not significant. A graded relationship was found between acculturation and dietary measures, where more acculturated Hispanics (English-speaking) were intermediate between less acculturated Hispanics (Spanish-speaking) and whites in their dietary intake.


This study illustrates the high dietary fat consumption of whites with low educational attainment, the increasing fat consumption of Hispanics at higher levels of acculturation, and the need for effective dietary interventions for low educated whites and Hispanics.

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