Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Dietary Acculturation in Asian Americans

Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Dietary Acculturation in Asian Americans

Article excerpt

Abstract: The purpose of this literature review is to promote a better understanding of the construct of dietary acculturation in recent years and how it affects dietary intake of AsianAmerican population. Four databases were searched simultaneously using the following key terms: Asian- Americans, dietary practices, eating habits, and dietary acculturation. A total of seven articles were relevant ana met the inclusion criteria. The findings from these studies of dietary acculturation in Asian Americans are generally in agreement with other dietary acculturation research conducted in non- Asian population samples. Although the studies presented in this literature review represent the recent researches conducted in Asian populations in the US, the research in dietary acculturation remains sparse.

Key Words: Asian Americans, Dietary Practices, Nutrition, Dietary Acculturation


One of the Healthy People 2020 goals is to target risk factors for disease in special populations (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). The Asian American population is one of the fastest growing and most diverse in the United States (Hoeffel et al., 2012). Asian Americans are at higher risk for developing chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes (Kim, Lee, Ahn, Bowen, & Lee, 2007; Seranea et al., 2013). Analysis of dietary patterns has recently drawn a great deal of attention as a method of investigating the role of foods in studies of chronic diseases among Asian Americans (Pierce et al., 2007; Wu et al., 1996). A challenge facing health care professionals in the US is providing effective dietary care and education to the increasingly diverse population.

Immigrants bring a rich cultural heritage to the host (or adopted) country with dramatically different beliefs, values, and customs. However, immigration to a new country can represent a substantial sruft in a person's lifestyle and environment, and these changes can result in rapid modifications in chronic disease risk. For instance, Ziegler et al. (1993) reported that Asian American female migrants who had lived in the Western United States (US) for a decade or longer had an 80% risk of breast cancer than more recent immigrants. These changes in disease incidence can be largely accounted for by changes in disease factors (Sandquist & Winkleby, 2000; Ziegler et al., 1993).

Several studies revealed that migration of immigrants is connected with rapid weight gain and risk of obesity. For example, US oom Japanese American women have considerably higher body fat than immigrant Japanese American women (Satia-Abouta, Patterson, Kristal, Teh, & Tu, 2002). Araneta et al. (2006) reported that when standard definitions of obesity were applied in their western adoption and lifestyle study utilizing Filipino women with hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes, 20.1% of Filipino women in Hawaii were classified obese compared to just 5.2% of Filipino women in the Philippines. Overall, the evidence from studies indicates that exposure to Western lifestyles increases risks of obesity that can lead to chronic diseases in migrants to the US.

Numerous changes can occur with immigration, including access to health care, physical activity, and diet. In particular, adoption of diets high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables is of concern because this dietary pattern is a nsk factor for several major chronic conditions (Liou & Contento, 2001; Satia-Abouta et al., 2002). Thus, it is imperative to understand the process by which immigrants adopt the dietary practices of the host country and identify the factors that predispose and enable it to occur.

Increasing numbers of Asian Americans residing in the US intensify a challenge for health professionals because data about food habits, nutrition knowledge/ attitudes, and physical traits of Asian Americans are not only limited but also frequently confounded by being either nativity or gender specific (Johnson, 2002). …

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