Background

This study explores the relationship between social-ecological determinants of obesity and adiposity using a small sample of rural, Latina/o adults.

Methods

Participants were 62 Latinas/os (M age=37.1 years, 89% female, 57% married, 76.7% completed high school) recruited from rural counties in South Texas. Past week time in MVPA was assessed via accelerometry. Social-ecological determinants of interest included PA-related self-efficacy, family and friend social support, home environment (i.e., electronics in bedroom and availability of PA equipment), and neighborhood environment. Items were summed to calculate self-efficacy, social support, and home environment index scores. Items were summed and averaged to calculate the neighborhood environment index. Higher scores indicate greater self-efficacy, social support, electronics in bedroom, availability of PA equipment, and a more PA-friendly neighborhood environment. Adiposity was assessed via % body fat. Multiple regressions examined relationships between determinants and % body fat, controlling for age, sex, education, and marriage status.

Results

Number of electronics in the bedroom was positively associated with % body fat (p=.028) as was self-efficacy (p=.026). While there was a negative relationship between friend social support and % body fat (p=.047), there was no significant association between family social support and % body fat (p=.591). Time in MVPA (p=.828), availability of PA equipment (p=.559), and neighborhood environment (p=.570) were not associated with % body fat.

Conclusions

Using a social-ecological framework to identify determinants of obesity is necessary to develop appropriate intervention strategies for populations disproportionately burdened by obesity. Preliminary analyses indicate that it may be important to address friend social support and electronics in the bedroom when designing obesity interventions for Latina/o rural adults.