Changes in food habits after migration among South Asians settled in Oslo: the effect of demographic, socio-economic and integration factors

Appetite. Mar-May 2008;50(2-3):376-85. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2007.09.003. Epub 2007 Sep 20.


The aim is to explore changes in food habits after migration, and the resultant present food consumption patterns, as well as the effect of demographic, socio-economic and integration factors on these changes. Analyses were based on data collected through the Oslo Immigrant Health study, from 629 persons 30-60 years of age, born in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and living in Oslo, Norway. A majority of the Sri Lankans reported increase in the consumption of meat, milk, butter, margarine and potatoes. Around half of those from Pakistan reported increased consumption of oil, meat, fish and potatoes. Both groups reported a decrease in bean and lentil consumption. Multivariate regression showed that age was negatively related to increases in butter and margarine consumption, and a good command of the Norwegian language reduced the likelihood of increased consumption of oil and butter. The likelihood of having present fat and sugar rich food patterns were reduced with age and years of education, whereas scoring high on an index of integration increased the likelihood of a fat rich food pattern. In conclusion, a number of demographic and socio-cultural factors may modify the changes in food habits after migration. Some of these may have substantial health implications.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Demography
  • Diet / trends*
  • Educational Status
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pakistan / ethnology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sri Lanka / ethnology