Hispanics Coming to the US Adopt US Cultural Behaviors and Eat Less Healthy: Implications for Development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Oriana M. Damas, Derek Estes, Danny Avalos, Maria A. Quintero, Diana Morillo, Francia Caraballo, Johanna Lopez, Amar R. Deshpande, David Kerman, Jacob L. McCauley, Ana Palacio, Maria T. Abreu, Seth J. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: The incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) among US Hispanics is rising. Adoption of an American diet and/or US acculturation may help explain this rise. Aims: To measure changes in diet occurring with immigration to the USA in IBD patients and controls, and to compare US acculturation between Hispanics with versus without IBD. Last, we examine the current diet of Hispanics with IBD compared to the diet of Hispanic controls. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of Hispanic immigrants with and without IBD. Participants were recruited from a university-based GI clinic. All participants completed an abbreviated version of the Stephenson Multi-Group Acculturation Scale and a 24-h diet recall (the ASA-24). Diet quality was calculated using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2010). Results: We included 58 participants: 29 controls and 29 IBD patients. Most participants were Cuban or Colombian. Most participants, particularly those with IBD, reported changing their diet after immigration (72% of IBD and 57% of controls). IBD participants and controls scored similarly on US and Hispanic acculturation measures. IBD patients and controls scored equally poorly on the HEI-2010, although they differed on specific measures of poor intake. IBD patients reported a higher intake of refined grains and lower consumption of fruits, whereas controls reported higher intake of empty calories (derived from fat and alcohol). Conclusion: The majority of Hispanics change their diet upon immigration to the USA and eat poorly irrespective of the presence of IBD. Future studies should examine gene–diet interactions to better understand underlying causes of IBD in Hispanics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3058-3066
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Acculturation
  • Diet
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Minority groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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