Structural determinants of health: Influence on income inequality, racial segregation and social cohesion on Latino childhood obesity
Given increased efforts to eliminate health disparities, there is a need to better understand how structural determinants of health influence Latino children's obesity status. This dissertation research examined three specific structural determinants of health: income inequality; racial residential segregation; and social cohesion. These three determinants have been woven into the theoretical tapestry explaining obesity-related disparities between African Americans and Non-Hispanic Whites (NHW); however, the incorporation of such explanations for Latinos is lacking. Overall, this dissertation found that Latino boys who live in states with higher than average income inequality have lower odds of being obese compared to NHW boys who live in states with similar above average income inequality; income inequality was insignificant for Latina girls. Additionally, this Latina girls who live in states with higher than average Latino/NHW racial residential segregation were observed to have greater odds of being obese compared to NHW girls who live in states with similar levels of segregation; the effect of racial residential segregation was insignificant for Latino boys. And lastly, Latino boys and girls whose parents report having no social cohesion have greater odds of being obese compared to Latino boys and girls whose parents report having higher levels of social cohesion. Ultimately, the preventative approach to Latino childhood obesity should be holistic, and better understanding how structural determinants of health influence Latino children's health behaviors is important for reducing obesity disparities and improving overall health equity for Latinos.