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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012 Jul-Aug;44(4):335-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2011.08.005. Epub 2012 Feb 4.

Perceptions of the host country's food culture among female immigrants from Africa and Asia: aspects relevant for cultural sensitivity in nutrition communication.

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  • 1Department of Health, Nutrition and Management, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Oslo, Norway.



To explore how female immigrants from Africa and Asia perceive the host country's food culture, to identify aspects of their original food culture they considered important to preserve, and to describe how they go about preserving them.


Qualitative in-depth interviews.


Oslo, Norway.


Twenty one female immigrants from 11 African and Asian countries, residing in areas of Oslo with a population having a low-to-middle socioeconomic status and a high proportion of immigrants. Participants varied in years of residence, employment status, and marital status.


Analysis of the interviews was guided by a phenomenological approach.


Participants emphasized the importance of preserving aspects of their original food cultures and related these aspects to taste, preparation effort and method, and adherence to religious dietary rules. They often perceived the food of the host country as "tasteless and boring." The authors observed strict, flexible, or limited continuity with the original food culture. Some elements that possibly influenced participants' degree of continuity are indicated.


Immigrants may strive to preserve aspects of their original food culture after immigration. Nutrition communication becomes more culturally sensitive when it takes such aspects into account.

Copyright © 2012 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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