Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems (MSNFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Julie Plasencia


Mexican Americans represent approximately 63 percent of the total Hispanic population in the US and are disproportionately affected by health disparities related to poor nutrition status. With this community among the fastest growing populations in the US, it is critical to address the health disparities and the relationship between culture and diet to provide evidence-based nutrition interventions that are culturally sensitive to specific communities. The purpose of this cross-sectional exploratory study is to examine the relationship between cultural values and dietary behaviors among a low-income, urban, clinical sample of Mexican Americans using the Mexican American Cultural Values Scale, dietary assessment, anthropometric data, and medical records. The study findings showed a significant positive association between religion cultural values and nopal use for health reasons, as well as a significant positive association between mainstream cultural values and vegetable use for health reasons. Implications for future research include integration of these health beliefs into nutrition interventions and further examination of how health beliefs moderate or mediate the relationship between cultural values and dietary behaviors.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)