Nativity and Serum Concentrations of Antioxidants in Mexican American Children: A Cross-Sectional Study
Koenig, Mary D.
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There is limited research on the effect of immigration on biological markers of nutrition among children of Mexican origin in the United States. The purpose of this crosssectional study was to examine data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) (1988-1994), on a national and representative sample of 1559 Mexican American children, 4-16 years of age, and assess the associations of country of birth with serum concentrations of carotenoids, vitamin A, and vitamin E. In multiple regression analyses, Mexico-born Mexican American children had significantly higher serum concentrations of α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin A, and vitamin E than their counterparts who were born in the United States after adjustment for age, sex, poverty income ratio, level of education of family reference person, body mass index, total serum cholesterol, serum cotinine, total energy intake, and vitamin/mineral consumption. Our findings confirm evidence for a negative effect of immigration/acculturation on dietary quality in this population. These findings also suggest that immigrant Mexican families should be encouraged to maintain their consumption of fruits and vegetables. Prospective studies are needed to further assess the effects of immigration/acculturation on diet and other health outcomes in children of Mexican origin and immigrants.