Dietary pattern change and acculturation of Chinese Americans in Pennsylvania

J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 May;104(5):771-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2004.02.032.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Asian*
  • Beverages
  • China / ethnology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Diet Surveys*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pennsylvania
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables


  • Dietary Fats