Greater Dietary Acculturation (Dietary Change) Is Associated With Poorer Current Self-Rated Health Among African Immigrant Adults

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Abstract

Objective:

Investigate the relationship between dietary acculturation and current self-rated health (SRH) among African immigrants, by country or region of origin.

Design:

Cross-sectional, mixed-methods design using baseline data from longitudinal study of immigrants granted legal permanent residence May to November, 2003, and interviewed June, 2003 to June, 2004.

Setting:

2003 New Immigrant Survey.

Participants:

African immigrants from a nationally representative sample (n = 763) averaged 34.7 years of age and 5.5 years' US residency; 56.6% were male, 54.1% were married, 26.1% were Ethiopian, and 22.5% were Nigerian.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Current SRH (dependent variable) was measured using 5-point Likert scale questions; dietary acculturation (independent variable) was assessed using a quantitative dietary change scale.

Analysis:

Multivariate logistic regression tested the relationship of dietary acculturation with current SRH (α = .05; P < .05 considered significant); exploratory qualitative subset dietary analysis (n = 60) examined food/beverages consumed pre-/post-migration.

Results:

African immigrants reporting moderate dietary change since arrival in the US had higher odds of poorer SRH status than immigrants reporting low dietary change (odds ratio, 1.903; 95% confidence interval, 1.143–3.170; P = .01). Among most dietary change groups, there was an increase in fast food consumption and decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption.

Conclusions and Implications:

Nutrition educators and public health practitioners should develop targeted nutrition education for African immigrants who are older, less educated, and at increased health risk.

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