The exploration of consumption routines and their implications on health-related consequences is fresh and is starting to concern healthcare policymakers. The consumption patterns demonstrate that particular harmful and balanced eating habits discovered from the Food Frequency Questionnaire are connected with and anticipate regulation of chronic illness biomarkers (Reininger et al., 2017). For example, the United States Healthy People 2020 disease control guidelines advocate consuming a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and entire grains, less fat content, lots of proteins, and exercising to maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, these same standards urge avoiding foods rich in saturated fats, cholesterol, artificial sweeteners, and salts (Reininger et al., 2017).
As the demographic composition of the population of United States of America develops, disparities in health-related consequences between various groups of population, especially Mexican-Americans, are becoming more prominent. For example, health inequities associated with obesity are prominent among Hispanics nationwide, particularly Mexican Americans (Reininger et al., 2017). Furthermore, the rates of obesity and overweight among women of Mexican-American origin have surpassed the United States forecast for the year 2020 (Reininger et al., 2017). In research conducted by Reininger et al (2017), among the American population, 69 percent of all ethnic and race groupings in the United States of America were discovered to be obese or overweight (BMI 250 kg/m2). The Mexican Americans who were obese or overweight (BMI 250 kg/m2) constituted 80 percent (Reininger et al., 2017). Additionally, increased incidences of obesity and obesity-related co-morbidities like heart disease and type 2 disease were reported across the US–Mexico border.
Along with the prevalence of obesity and overweight among Mexican-Americans, Reininger et al (2017) discovered changing routines of excellent and undesirable consumption among born Mexican-Americans in America and the Mexican individuals born in Mexico. Mexican-Americans born in America consume more saturated sugar and fat and consume less traditional Mexican meals than Mexicans born in Mexico. According to this research, the indigenous Mexican diet is generally low in sugar and calories than the American diet. With the overwhelming data and analysis on the prevalence of obesity among Mexican- Americans in the United States, obesity is a serious issue that requires urgent intervention. As such, this paper aims to analyze whether Mexican-American cuisine affects the current Brownsville obesity rate and increase in diseases.
Past studies and research have indicated many other factors besides food associated with obesity or being overweight. Pengpid and Peltzer (2017), in their study on obesity and associated behavioral risk factors in a sample size of 13 countries, found out that the growing obesity crisis is associated with profound socioeconomic, geographical, and cultural shifts affecting both dietary and physical activity trends. For instance, in China, tobacco users had a reduced risk of obesity and overweight than non-smokers, but alcoholics had a higher risk (Pengpid & Peltzer, 2017). Furthermore, in Portugal, tobacco intake was connected with a higher risk of being obese or overweight. Inactive men were more likely to be fat, while women who drank alcohol were more likely to be obese or overweight (Pengpid & Peltzer, 2017). In Turkey, obesity was strongly correlated with smoking cessation and alcohol intake but it was negatively associated with lack of physical exercises and use of tobacco.
In another study by Cuevas et al (2019) on the relationship between race and ethnicity and obesity and weight gain, they found out that stress might raise the risk of being overweight through psychological mechanisms. For instance, having more stressful life experiences generates more depression symptoms (Cuevas et al., 2019). They further add that depression is associated with a greater likelihood of being obese. Stress also increases the probability of being chubby or obese via behavioral mechanisms (Cuevas et al., 2019). As observed in both animal and human studies, stress has shown to increase appetites for sugar and fat foods (Cuevas et al., 2019). Additionally, stress might diminish one’s motivation to take part in exercises.
Data was collected from the various Mexican restaurants around the city of Brownsville and compared to The vermillion restaurant. Additionally, native Brownsville residents were also included in the list of subjects. To remove selection bias against pre-existing or contemporaneous infectious illnesses, subjects were chosen randomly. The various restaurants around Brownsville were ideal and appropriate due to the nature of the research. To expound on the importance of selecting Mexican-American restaurants, the study focuses on the majorly served cuisine at these restaurants. Native Brownsville residents were necessary since the research in question affected them specifically. Exemptions were made on those restaurants that were not Mexican and non-Brownsville residents because they did not meet the threshold for the study.
Data Collection techniques
The methods of data collection and techniques used were majorly interviews, observations, and readings from the various menus of the different selected restaurants within Brownsville. Statistics from the Centre for Disease Control were also extracted and compared data gathered from the findings of this research. Since the study is more concerned about the behavioral eating patterns of Brownsville residents, observation is critical as it offers the most precise data on people, their interests, and their responsibilities. Additionally, interviews will assist in explaining, comprehending, and exploring the perspectives, behaviors, perceptions, and phenomena of research participants. Interview questions are typically open-ended in nature. As such, I will be able to elicit detailed information.
From the observations and reading of the restaurants’ menus around Brownsville, the following data were obtained. The foodstuffs served on the menus of the restaurants consisted of majorly of calories and sugar. Comparing this data with that of The Vermillion restaurant, there was a more remarkable similarity in the number of calories, specifically in a plate of enchiladas served there. The amount of calories in a container of enchiladas at The Vermillion restaurant is 428J.
Additionally, from the interviews conducted on the native residents of Brownsville, most of them confessed to being addicted to fatty foods since they seemed sweeter and easier to cook. Subsequently, most of the native citizens of Brownsville also admitted to being rarely engaging themselves in physical exercise or other body-engaging activities. As locals having been brought up in Brownsville, most agreed that their unhealthy eating habits are a developed character since their early childhoods.
The following findings were made from the information gathered through observation of the various menus of the thirty restaurants in Brownsville and interviews. First, there was a high consumption rate of calories and fats among the Mexican-American natives of Brownsville. It was evident from the menus that the various restaurants, including that of The Vermillion. Secondly, from the interviews carried out, it was apparent that most Mexican-American natives of Brownsville rarely took part in physical exercises. Third, there existed unhealthy eating habits among the natives of Brownsville as the consumption of fruits and vegetables was rare on the menu of various restaurants. Additionally, there tend to be higher amounts of sugar and calories in most foodstuffs served at the different restaurants in Brownsville.
Conclusion, Recommendation, and Reflection
From the above study, it is evident that obesity among the citizens of Brownsville is a crucial subject matter. It requires immediate intervention for the safety of not only the citizens of Brownsville but also the general American population. Most importantly, from the data obtained from the various restaurants and The Vermillion restaurants, and the citizens of Brownsville, Mexican-American cuisine is responsible for the higher rates of obesity and other illness in Brownsville. Additionally, unhealthy eating habits and inadequate physical exercise among individuals have proven to be the other factors associated with obesity. Therefore, it is essential to have interventions targeting these risk factors since they can reduce the higher prevalence of the obesity population.
Subsequently, the following recommendations could serve to be important in helping to curb the menace. First, the health policymakers around Brownsville could assist by ensuring that the amount of sugar and calories in these Mexican-American cuisines are regulated. The regulation of sugar and calories could be made by having measures to check on the amounts of sugar and calories in various Mexican-American cuisines. Additionally, placing bans on some of the high sugar and calories Mexican-American cuisines could help reduce their consumptions. Secondly, promoting a culture of sporting and physical exercises among the native citizens of Brownsville would help reduce the menace. From the research, one of the risk factors was the lack of physical activities among the natives. Physical exercises have been known to help burn down fats, and sugar within the body and, as such, will help reduce the effects associated with taking too much sugar and fats.
Third, healthy eating habits among the citizens could be significant in reducing obesity and overweight among Brownsville citizens. Healthy eating habits, in this case, involve incorporating more fruits and vegetables into the diet. Studies have shown that more fruits and vegetables in their diets are less likely to be obese or overweight. Additionally, reducing the level of alcohol consumption among individuals could also prove crucial. As Pengpid and Peltzer (2017) found in their research on obesity that alcohol represents a risk factor of obesity, therefore, individuals should be well informed on its modest consumption.
Sensitization of the people in Brownsville could also be an essential step to assist in reducing obesity. Sensitization could be done through programs that educate people on healthy living and dietary habits. The Mexican-Americans and other restaurants around Brownsville could also be sensitized on the harm their high sugar and calorie foodstuffs have on the health of Brownsville citizens. Lastly, parents and adults should be in the frontline to teach their children about good healthy eating habits to become a culture from childhood. Therefore, it is important that further studies be conducted in the same topic so as to shade more light into the adverse effects that Mexican-American cuisines have on the health of the people of Brownsville. This paper is essential for future researchers who may be interested in the above subject matter as it sets the foundation for future research and studies.
Cuevas, A. G., Ortiz, K., & Ransome, Y. (2019). The moderating role of race/ethnicity and nativity in the relationship between perceived discrimination and overweight and obesity: Results from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 1-10. Web.
Pengpid, S., & Peltzer, K. (2017). Associations between behavioural risk factors and overweight and obesity among adults in population-based samples from 31 countries. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, 11(2), 158-166. Web.
Reininger, B., Lee, M., Jennings, R., Evans, A., & Vidoni, M. (2017). Healthy eating patterns associated with acculturation, sex and BMI among Mexican Americans. Public health Nutrition, 20(7), 1267-1278. Web.