The Association between Acculturation and Dietary Patterns of South Asian Immigrants

Iris A. Lesser, Danijela Gasevic, Scott A. Lear*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dietary acculturation, specifically the adoption of western dietary habits, may result in adverse health effects such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the role of acculturation in dietary patterns as well as awareness and knowledge of healthy nutrition among South Asian immigrants. This is an especially important population to target as South Asians have higher prevalence rates of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which may be magnified with immigration. The current investigation is a sub-study of the Multi-Cultural Community Health Assessment Trial (M-CHAT). There were 207 participants of South Asian origin included in the initial study, 129 were born outside of Canada and had immigrated after the age of 18. The length of residence in Canada was used as a marker for acculturation. A questionnaire addressing perceived changes in dietary patterns, food preparation, and nutrition knowledge and awareness since immigration was used to assess dietary practices. The association between length of residence and variables related to perceived changes in dietary patterns was explored with Spearman correlation and significant associations were subsequently analyzed with ordinal logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, sex, education and body mass index. South Asian immigrants in Canada reported a variety of positive dietary practices, including an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and an improvement in food preparation (including an increase in grilling and a decrease in deep frying when cooking). However, there was a reported increase in the consumption of convenience foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat and in dining out. South Asian immigrants in Canada reported a variety of positive dietary practices including an improvement in food preparation. Future health promotion strategies should encourage cultural sensitivity in efforts to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage, convenience foods and to encourage eating at home rather than dining out.

Original languageEnglish
Article number88495
Number of pages6
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2014




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