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J Am Diet Assoc. 2007 Jun;107(6):942-50.

Chronic diseases and dietary changes in relation to Korean Americans' length of residence in the United States.

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Department of Culinary Science, Honam University, Gwangju, Korea.



National health in the United States is influenced by the dietary norms brought into the country by an increasing number of immigrants.


This cross-sectional study aimed to document dietary changes and disease prevalence in relation to the length of residence in the United States for Korean Americans in Michigan.


Of 1,860 questionnaires mailed out, 637 (34.3%) were returned with respondent-reported information, including demographics, weight and height, chronic diseases, and dietary patterns.


Included in the final analyses were 497 first-generation Korean-American immigrants (263 men, 234 women, aged 30 to 87 years).


Analysis of covariance with the Tukey test and logistic regression models provided sex-specific analysis of dietary changes and disease patterns. All statistical analyses were adjusted for age.


Chronic diseases reported most frequently by men and women, respectively, were hypertension, digestive diseases, arthritis, and diabetes. Length of residence in the United States (<or=15 years, 16 to 25 years, or >or=26 years) was inversely associated with the prevalence of digestive diseases in men (P=0.017) and women (P=0.001), and positively with respiratory diseases in men and thyroid disease in women (P<0.05). Length of residence in the United States was inversely associated with intake of rice/rice dishes in both men (servings per week, P<0.001) and women (P=0.012). The prevalence of digestive diseases associated inversely with length of residence and positively with servings of rice/rice dishes consumed for Korean-American men. The age-adjusted odds ratio for digestive diseases was highest among men who had the shortest length of residence in the United States (<or=15 years) and greater consumption of rice/rice dishes (>2 servings per day) (odds ratio 12.10; P=0.03).


Dietary changes of Korean-American immigrants in the United States over time were associated with changes in their chronic disease patterns. These findings may help food and nutrition professionals who work with minority immigrants because they identify factors that affect changes in dietary patterns and work toward preventing diet-related diseases. Prospective studies could address underlying mechanisms of the observed diet-disease relationship with subsequent generations of Korean Americans, as well as various ethnic minority immigrants in the United States.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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