Objective: To obtain information about dietary pattern change of Chinese Americans in Pennsylvania and its relationship with demographic characteristics and acculturation indicators.
Design: A cross-sectional self-administered survey.
Subjects: A convenience sample of 399 Chinese Americans. Statistical analyses performed t Tests, analysis of variance with Tukey post-hoc tests, Spearman rank correlation, and chi(2) test.
Results: After immigration, Chinese Americans increased consumption frequency of all seven food groups (grains, vegetables, fruits, meat/meat alternatives, dairy products, fats/sweets, and beverages) and Western foods while consumption frequency of traditional Chinese foods decreased. Dietary variety also increased after immigration. Higher education and higher income levels were associated with a larger increase in consumption frequency of grains, vegetables, and fruits. Persons who resided in the United States for a longer period of time shared a greater increase in their consumption frequencies of vegetables, fats/sweets, and beverages. Persons with better English proficiency had a greater increase in their consumption frequency of grains, fruits, meat/meat alternatives, and fats/sweets.
Conclusions: This study can help nutrition educators design appropriate educational programs for first-generation Chinese Americans that can facilitate the adoption of more healthful dietary practices. Nutrition educators should consider the dietary changes of Chinese-American participants, such as skipping breakfast and increased consumption frequency of fats, sweets, and soft drinks, which were observed in this study. For example, acculturated first-generation Chinese Americans should be encouraged to decrease fats, sweets, and soft-drink consumption. Less-acculturated persons should be encouraged to maintain their healthful dietary pattern and increase consumption of vegetables and fruits.