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J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 May;104(5):771-8.

Dietary pattern change and acculturation of Chinese Americans in Pennsylvania.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, 8L Borland Laboratory, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.



To obtain information about dietary pattern change of Chinese Americans in Pennsylvania and its relationship with demographic characteristics and acculturation indicators.


A cross-sectional self-administered survey.


A convenience sample of 399 Chinese Americans. Statistical analyses performed t Tests, analysis of variance with Tukey post-hoc tests, Spearman rank correlation, and chi(2) test.


After immigration, Chinese Americans increased consumption frequency of all seven food groups (grains, vegetables, fruits, meat/meat alternatives, dairy products, fats/sweets, and beverages) and Western foods while consumption frequency of traditional Chinese foods decreased. Dietary variety also increased after immigration. Higher education and higher income levels were associated with a larger increase in consumption frequency of grains, vegetables, and fruits. Persons who resided in the United States for a longer period of time shared a greater increase in their consumption frequencies of vegetables, fats/sweets, and beverages. Persons with better English proficiency had a greater increase in their consumption frequency of grains, fruits, meat/meat alternatives, and fats/sweets.


This study can help nutrition educators design appropriate educational programs for first-generation Chinese Americans that can facilitate the adoption of more healthful dietary practices. Nutrition educators should consider the dietary changes of Chinese-American participants, such as skipping breakfast and increased consumption frequency of fats, sweets, and soft drinks, which were observed in this study. For example, acculturated first-generation Chinese Americans should be encouraged to decrease fats, sweets, and soft-drink consumption. Less-acculturated persons should be encouraged to maintain their healthful dietary pattern and increase consumption of vegetables and fruits.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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