Evolution of meal patterns and food choices of Japanese-American females born in the United States

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000 Aug;54(8):665-70. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601072.


Objectives: To examine trends in meal patterns and food choices across two generations of Japanese-American females born in the USA.

Design: Cross-sectional cohort study.

Setting: Gardena, a suburb of Los Angeles, California.

Subjects: One-hundred and seventy-six Japanese-American females, participating in a morning exercise class from December 1998 to January 1999.

Intervention: Eighty-eight Nisei (second generation) mothers and their Sansei (third generation) daughters completed a food frequency questionnaire, answering questions regarding meal patterns and consumption frequency of 51 food items.

Results: The Sansei ate fewer meals per day compared with the Nisei. Mean frequencies of takeout foods and eating out were higher in the Sansei vs the Nisei. Mean intake of meats and eggs were similar between the two groups. However, mean consumption of traditional Japanese complement foods including fish, vegetables and legumes was lower in the Sansei vs the Nisei. Intake of more 'Westernized' accessory foods, including salty snacks, regular soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, was higher in the Sansei vs the Nisei.

Conclusion: Findings from this study indicate that meal patterns and food choices have changed in succeeding generations of Japanese-American females from traditional fare to a diet containing many complement and accessory foods that are higher in fat, sugar, sodium and calories. Health professionals should be advised to consider the whole diet in making nutrition recommendations to this population as well as providing information to this group on the nutritional benefits of many traditional foods. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2000) 54, 665-670.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asian Americans*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / ethnology
  • Los Angeles
  • Middle Aged