Publication Date

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Jessica Chin

Subject Areas



This qualitative study examines how culture impacts the perception of health and fitness for Latinas from the American Southwest. Research done on the Latina population found that they are less likely to play sports than their white counterparts; are most likely to play soccer; and are constantly navigating the Latino health paradox and cultural influences. Semi-structured interviews were conducted via Zoom with 12 participants that grew up in different parts of the American Southwest. Chicana Feminism and Latin Critical lenses centered the voices and experiences of the participants, showing the complex ways they managed and pushed back against dominant ideologies within American and Latine cultures. Analysis of the interviews yielded themes including: Diet Culture: Mixed Stories of Healthy Food, Latina Beauty Standards: Challenges and Pressures of the Mold, Sports and Physical Education to Fit the Mold, and Learned Self, Health, and Fitness Awareness Over Time. The experiences shared by the participants showed that their relationships with health and fitness were influenced by family traditions, beauty standards impressed upon them, mixed messages about food, and the complex role of family. Building on the results of this study, future research would benefit from continuing to center the voices and experiences of Latinas to explore the multiple intersections of family, cultural values, and competing messages that influence their relationship with health and fitness.

Available for download on Wednesday, August 30, 2028