The effect of acculturation on diabetes prevalence in Hispanics: A systematic review

Alejandra Quezada, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Context. The high prevalence of diabetes among Hispanics in the U.S. has stimulated increased interest in the role culture plays in Hispanics' risk of diabetes. It is critical to identify gaps in the existing research and to determine the relationship between acculturation and diabetes prevalence in the Hispanic population. Objective. To review the current literature to evaluate the effects of acculturation on diabetes prevalence among Hispanic Americans. Methods. A literature search of diabetes-related studies was conducted. Studies were selected for review if they reported at least one acculturation measure, used Hispanics adults (ages 18 and older) and included information regarding the diabetes prevalence of Hispanics and/or Latinos. Only those that examined acculturation by diabetes prevalence for Hispanics were included in the review. Results. Sixteen studies were reviewed that met the search criteria and these studies used distinct measures of acculturation that captured four primary dimensions: time (duration of exposure to U.S. culture), language, culture and residence. Data represented studies conducted in a variety of settings, such as healthcare facilities in a state or region of the U.S. and nationally representative surveys. The data indicate positive, negative and no significant relationship with diabetes. Depending on the measure of acculturation used and gender the association between acculturation and diabetes varied. Conclusions. There is no clear association between acculturation and diabetes prevalence; it can not be determined based on the available literature. Many of the studies examining this relationship found non-significant results and the directionality of the relationship varied greatly depending on the type of measure used, the number of measures used, and the study population. Ideal studies of acculturation should concentrate on investigating the links between time measures of acculturation, location of residence and changing beliefs, values and norms. A comprehensive acculturation scale is needed to better understand the complex relationship between diabetes prevalence amongst Hispanics and acculturation.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Quezada, Alejandra, "The effect of acculturation on diabetes prevalence in Hispanics: A systematic review" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1450330.