It’s the story that makes America great… Hispanics immigrate to the U.S., looking for a new and better life for their families.
One of things that the first generation brings with them is their traditional eating habits… Hispanic meals that are, at their core, much healthier than current US eating habits. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report submitted recently to HHS and USDA, for example:
But what happens with the next generation of those Hispanic families… and the one after that?
Evidently, as Hispanics become more acculturated over time, their eating habits become more “Americanized” – meaning less healthy choices, leading to, perhaps, long-term health issues.
According to diet.com, “For example, first-generation Mexican-American women, despite being of lower socioeconomic status than second-generation Mexican American or non-Hispanic white women, tend to have higher intakes of protein, vitamins A and C, folic acid, and calcium than these other groups. The diets of second-generation Mexican American women more closely resemble those of non-Hispanic white women of similar socioeconomic status.”
But the acculturation-based changes are more than just the foods Hispanics are eating. As they become more acculturated, they are also adopting more sedentary lifestyles… which is resulting, for example, in a dramatic increase in Type 2 diabetes. In fact, the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes in Hispanics is 2-3X that of non-Hispanic whites.
So, what does all of this mean?
While there is clearly trending data that is not providing very good news, according to health.gov, more research still needs to be done. For example:
In the meantime, Hispanics might want to follow the traditional guidelines for diet (source: oldwayspt.org), including:
Bottom line: don’t let the American Dream make you sick!
If you're interested in learning more about Hispanics' food habits, contact us and stay tuned for our upcoming reports on Millennials and their opinions on food, beverage and alcohol.