Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2023

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Lucy Popova, PhD

Second Advisor

Iris Feinberg, PhD

Third Advisor

Joy Goetz, Ms


Hispanic people may be of any race, including anyone of Central or South American, Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or other Spanish nation or origin (Aragones et al., 2014). In 1960, Hispanics represented just 3.24% of the U.S. population; however, the Hispanic population grew by 23% from 2010 to 2020, while those not of Hispanic or Latino origin grew by only 4.3%. By 2020, the Hispanic population had grown to 18.2%, contributing to half of the total population growth within the U.S. and becoming the largest ethnic minority group (Funk & Lopez, 2022). The Hispanic community is estimated to represent 25% of the U.S. population by 2050 (Pérez-Escamilla & Prutnik, 2007). In Georgia, Hispanics are the third-largest racial and ethnic group, representing 10.2% of the population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2021). The Hispanic community numbers 1.1 million in Georgia. More than half of Hispanics in Georgia are Mexicans (52%); Puerto Ricans (10%), Guatemalans (6%), Salvadorans (5%), and Colombians (3.5%) make up the top five Hispanic ancestry groups in Georgia (U.S. Census Bureau, 2021).

The Hispanic community is disproportionately affected by poor conditions of daily life, shaped by structural and social position factors (such as income, education, occupation, and social support systems, including health services), known as Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) (Velasco-Mondragon et al., 2016). Among the SDOH contributing to disparate health outcomes for Hispanic Americans are language barriers, cultural barriers, and poverty, especially among recent Hispanic immigrants. Specifically, SDOH, like income and education, contribute to a disparity gap in the Hispanic community; however, diabetes type 2 has become the most significant health disparity for the U.S. Hispanic population (Cartwright, 2021). Any adult in the U.S. has a 40% average chance of developing diabetes; however, for Hispanics, the chance is more than 50% (Centers for Disease Control, 2022). Hispanic communities have a higher burden of diet-related chronic disease than non-Hispanic white Americans, underscoring the need for culturally inclusive initiatives that address poor dietary behaviors U.S. Hispanics have a higher burden of Hispanic populations. There is a need for culturally inclusive actions that address the higher burden of diet-related chronic disease and poor dietary behaviors of Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic white Americans (Fuster et al., 2022).

This capstone project aims to increase the cultural literacy of nutrition professionals in Georgia by developing culturally and linguistically responsive nutrition resources. It is designed to facilitate food pantries and food banks to support Hispanic people's voluntary adoption of healthier and traditional foods. The resources in this capstone will support food pantry staff and other agencies serving food insecure Hispanics in Georgia to learn about their traditional and cultural foods, so they can provide culturally appropriate food and nutrition to create a more inclusive service. The cultural food lists in this capstone have been developed following evidence-based interventions toward lessening language barriers among racial or ethnic minority populations to improve health outcomes (Chin et al., 2007). The information provided in this capstone can be used by any clinician or social services professional, including staff and volunteers at food banks and food pantries, to serve Hispanics better.


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