Hispanics are a heterogeneous group of individuals with a variation in dietary habits that is reflective of their cultural heritage and country of origin. It is important to identify differences in their dietary habits because it has been well established that nutrition contributes substantially to the burden of preventable diseases and early deaths in the United States.
We estimated the distribution of usual intakes (of both food groups and nutrients) by Hispanic and Latino backgrounds by using National Cancer Institute methodology.
The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos is a population-based cohort study that recruited participants who were 18-74 y of age from 4 US cities in 2008-2011 (Miami, Bronx, Chicago, and San Diego). Participants who provided at least one 24-h dietary recall and completed a food propensity questionnaire (n = 13,285) were included in the analyses. Results were adjusted for age, sex, field center, weekend, sequencing, and typical amount of intake.
Overall, Cubans (n = 2128) had higher intakes of total energy, macronutrients (including all subtypes of fat), and alcohol than those of other groups. Mexicans (n = 5371) had higher intakes of vitamin C, calcium, and fiber. Lowest intakes of total energy, macronutrients, folate, iron, and calcium were reported by Dominicans (n = 1217), whereas Puerto Ricans (n = 2176) had lowest intakes of vitamin C and fiber. Food-group servings reflected nutrient intakes, with Cubans having higher intakes of refined grains, vegetables, red meat, and fats and Dominicans having higher intakes of fruit and poultry, whereas Puerto Ricans had lowest intakes of fruit and vegetables. Central and South Americans (n = 1468 and 925, respectively) were characterized by being second in their reported intakes of fruit and poultry and the highest in fish intake in comparison with other groups.
Variations in diet noted in this study, with additional analysis, may help explain diet-related differences in health outcomes observed in Hispanics and Latinos.