Intra-racial disparities: The effect of poverty and obesity on the psychosocial profile of Mexican-American children

Marie Leiner , Jesús Peinado , María Theresa Villanos , Ricardo Uribe , Indu Pathak

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17711/SM.0185-3325.2016.009

Abstract


Introduction. The high prevalence of obesity among children of Mexican descent, living in either Mexico or the United States (US), might indicate they are at a higher risk when compared to other groups. Previous mental health studies have had conflicting outcomes, which may be the result of considering these children as a homogeneous group (by race or ethnicity) instead of considering intra-racial group disparities (e.g. socio-economic status, adversities). Objective: To compare the psychosocial profile by weight category (normal weight, overweight, or obese) of impoverished Mexican descendent children in a clinical setting.

Objective. To compare the psychosocial profile by weight category (normal weight, overweight, or obese) of impoverished Mexican descendent children in a clinical setting.

Method. The study design was cross sectional. Information was retrieved from medical records (N = 2237) that were obtained from five university-based clinics in a large metropolitan area on the US-Mexico border from May 2009 to August 2010.

Results. Psychosocial and behavioral problems were present among this intra-racial group of Mexican-American children, with higher scores in the overweight and obese children than in the normal-weight children.

Discussion and conclusion. Intra-racial differences among obese and overweight children could account for variation in results regarding the mental health of Mexican American children.

Considering intra-racial group disparities when providing healthcare may improve delivery and promote better mental and health outcomes because some groups may need more attention than others. In addition, considering these groups when designing studies, may improve the accuracy and precision of study result interpretations.


Keywords


Health disparities; mental health; obesity; overweight; children; adolescent

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