Acculturation and Dietary Change Among Chinese Immigrant Women in the United States
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US Chinese immigrants undergo a transition to increased chronic disease risk commonly attributed to acculturative and dietary changes. Longitudinal data to confirm this are lacking. We examined acculturation and diet over time in 312 Chinese immigrant women in Philadelphia, recruited October 2005 to April 2008 and followed with interviews and dietary recalls until April 2010. Associations were modeled using generalized estimating equations to account for repeated measures over time. Increasing length of US residence was associated with a small (~1 %/year) but significant increase in acculturation score (p < 0.0001), which in turn was significantly associated with increased energy density of the diet, percent of energy from fat, and sugar intake, and lower dietary moderation score. These findings provide longitudinal evidence that acculturation increases with length of US residence and is accompanied by dietary changes. However, the changes were small enough that their health impact is unclear. Factors besides acculturation that affect immigrant health and that affect the acculturation trajectory itself warrant investigation.
KeywordsAcculturation Chinese Diet Immigrants Longitudinal
This work was supported by Grants R01 CA106606 and P30 CA006927 from the National Institutes of Health. The authors are indebted to Ms. Wanzi Yang, Ms. Qi He, Ms. Rong Cheng, Ms. Bingqin Zheng, Dr. Zemin Liu, and Ms. Yun Song for their crucial work in the collection and management of data for this study. The authors also thank Dr. Yu-Wen Ying for her assistance with the General Ethnicity Questionnaire; Mr. Andrew Balshem, Joseph Bland, and the Fox Chase Cancer Center Population Studies Facility for their data management support; and Dr. Philip Siu and Dr. Thomas Yuen of Chinatown Medical Services for their generous assistance in participant recruitment.
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