Acculturation, Sociodemographic and Environmental Determinants of Dietary Intake Among Asian Immigrants in the United States
Research has established that dietary quality among Asian immigrants declined after immigrating to the United States, indicated by decreasing intake of healthy food and increasing intake of unhealthy food. There is a need for a broader investigation for the interactive influence of acculturation, sociodemographic and environmental factors on dietary intake among this population. Guided by the Operant Theory of Acculturation, and the Dietary Acculturation Theory, the present study examined the following research questions to address the gaps in the literature: (1) Are acculturation factors associated with dietary intake among Asian immigrants? (2) What sociodemographic factors are associated with dietary intake among Asian immigrants? (3) What environmental factors are associated with dietary intake among Asian immigrants? (4) What sociodemographic factors moderate the effect of acculturation on dietary intake among Asian immigrants? (5) What environmental factors moderate the effect of acculturation on dietary intake among Asian immigrants? The data in use come from the 2011 – 2012 Adult California Health Interview survey. The sample includes 2,122 non-Hispanic Asian adults born out of the United States. Results from negative binomial regression indicate that intake of fruits, vegetables, soda, fries and fast food was all negatively associated with living in the United States for at least 10 years, compared to living in the Unites States for less than 10 years. The present study also found sociodemographic (including ethnicity, age, gender, education, employment status, and income) and environmental factors (including family type, household size, household tenure, housing type, perceived availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, residential area category, and participation in food stamp and WIC) statistically significantly confounded and moderated the association between length of time lived in the United States and dietary intake. Findings from this study extend the understanding of the protective and risk factors for Asian immigrants to develop and maintain healthy diet, and demonstrated the complexity of dietary changes among Asian immigrants. Based on the findings, the importance that social work research and practice in addressing nutrition inequality among Asian immigrants was highlighted. The study also discovered potential issues and challenges of developing measurement for dietary intake among Asian immigrants, and provided empirical evidence of longitudinal research designs to further explain dietary changes, and guidelines for community-based interventions to address strategies of nutrition promotion among Asian immigrants.