A preliminary assessment of acculturation and its relationship to body size and glucose intolerance among blacks in the US Virgin Islands

Eugene S. Tull, John J. Ambrose, Earle Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study is a preliminary investigation of the relationship of acculturation to body size and glucose intolerance among African Caribbeans living in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). Methods: Focus groups were used to identify items for measuring acculturation, and validity and reliability procedures were performed on the items. The acculturation items were administered to a population-based sample of 740 individuals aged 20 years and older. Anthropometric measurements and blood pressure were taken and a fasting blood sample was also drawn. Results: Factor analysis showed that the acculturation items clustered as 3 factors that appeared to represent: 1) the 'adoption' of USVI-American values; 2) 'integration' and practice of USVI customs; and 3) allegiance to 'traditional' African-Caribbean values and customs. Each factor exhibited relationships to demographic variables that were characteristic of acculturation, with the mean adoption (AD) score being significantly (P=.0002) higher for USVI-born persons than for African-Caribbean immigrants [AD=11.3 (95% CI=11.0-11.6) vs AD=10.6 (95% CI=10.4-10.8), respectively], while African-Caribbean immigrants had a higher (P=.0001) traditional score (TS) compared to USVI-born persons [TS=9.0 (95% CI=8.8-9.2) vs TS=7.0 (95% CI=6.7-7.2), respectively]. In regression analyses adjusting for age, education, income, smoking, and alcohol consumption, the 'adoption' factor was independently and positively related to BMI (P=.02) among USVI-born African Caribbeans, and to fasting glucose (P=.005) among African-Caribbean immigrants. Conclusions: Acculturation is associated with increased body size and diabetes risk in African Caribbeans in the USVI and appears to bear a differential impact according to place of birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003



  • Acculturation
  • African-American
  • Body Size
  • Caribbean
  • Glucose Intolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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