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Latinos are the largest minority population group in the United States (U.S.), and low-income Latina women are at elevated risk of depression and obesity. Thus, the prevention of these two problems is a pressing public health concern in this population. Both depressive symptoms and obesity are modifiable factors that can be addressed by culturally relevant interventions. However, the association between depressive symptoms and obesity in Latina immigrant women is not well understood. Therefore, this cross-sectional study examined the association between depressive symptoms and obesity among Latina women of childbearing age (15–44). Participants (n = 147) were low-income, predominantly immigrant Latina mothers enrolled in the Latina Mothers′ Child Feeding Practices and Style Study. Women were eligible to participate if they self-identified as Latina; were enrolled in or eligible for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children program; had a child between ages two and five years; and were living in the U.S. for at least one year, and residing in Rhode Island. Enrolled participants completed a survey in their language of preference (English or Spanish) administered by bilingual interviewers. About one-third (34%) of participants were classified as having obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2), 28.3% had elevated depressive symptoms (CES-D ≥ 16), and 70.1% were immigrants. Women with elevated depressive symptoms had increased odds of having obesity (odds ratio (OR) = 2.80, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.24–6.33). Additionally, among immigrants, length of U.S. residency was associated with increased odds of obesity (OR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.02–1.09). Findings underscore the need for screening and culturally relevant interventions designed to address both depressive symptoms and obesity among low-income Latina women of childbearing age. Furthermore, findings highlight the importance of taking into account the length of residency in the U.S. when designing interventions targeting Latina immigrants.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Mary Greaney has a dual appointment with the Department of Health Studies and the Department of Kinesiology.