Background: Mexican American men living in the United States who are more acculturated exhibit higher rates of cancer compared to those less acculturated. This study explored the association between acculturation and serum levels of nutrients thought to be involved with cancer prevention among Mexican American men. Methods: Our sample included 2,479 Mexican American men from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994). Outcomes were serum levels of micronutrients. Acculturation in Mexican American men was assessed by a combined measure including country of origin, language of interview, and years of residence in the United States and was categorized as follows: (1) foreign-born, 0-5 years in the United States (lowest acculturation), (2) foreign-born, 6-15 years in the United States, (3) foreign-born, > 15 years in the United States, (4) US-born Spanish-speaking, and (5) US-born English-speaking (highest acculturation). Results: Adjusted analyses showed that acculturation decreased the serum levels for vitamin E, vitamin C, and folate and also for some carotenoids (alpha and beta carotenes, beta cryptoxanthin, and lutein-zeaxanthin). By contrast, acculturation increased the serum levels for selenium and lycopene. Conclusions: With the exception of selenium and lycopene, acculturation among Mexican American men decreased the serum levels for most carotenoids and for vitamin E, vitamin C, and folate. These changes in nutrient profiles, reflecting altered patterns in food consumption or other behaviors, may explain in part why Mexican American men who are more acculturated have an increased risk for diet-related cancer.
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