Acculturation and dietary patterns among residents of Surinamese origin in the Netherlands: the HELIUS dietary pattern study

Public Health Nutr. 2016 Mar;19(4):682-92. doi: 10.1017/S1368980015001391. Epub 2015 May 21.


Objective: Insight into the role of acculturation in dietary patterns is important to inform the development of nutrition programmes that target ethnic minority groups. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate how the adherence to dietary patterns within an ethnic minority population in the Netherlands varies by acculturation level compared with the host population.

Design: Cross-sectional study using data of the HELIUS study. Dietary patterns were assessed with an ethnic-specific FFQ. Acculturation was operationalized using unidimensional proxies (residence duration, age at migration and generation status) as well as on the basis of the bidimensional perspective, defined by four distinct acculturation strategies: assimilation, integration, separation and marginalization.

Setting: Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Subjects: Participants of Dutch (n 1370) and Surinamese (n 1727) origin.

Results: Three dietary patterns were identified: (i) 'noodle/rice dishes and white meat' (traditional Surinamese pattern); (ii) 'red meat, snacks and sweets'; and (iii) 'vegetables, fruit and nuts'. Surinamese-origin respondents adhered more to the traditional Surinamese pattern than the other dietary patterns. Neither the unidimensional proxies nor the bidimensional acculturation strategies demonstrated consistent associations with dietary patterns.

Conclusions: The lack of consistent association between acculturation and dietary patterns in the present study indicates that dietary patterns are quite robust. Understanding the continued adherence to traditional dietary patterns when developing dietary interventions in ethnic minority groups is warranted.

Keywords: Acculturation; Dietary patterns; Ethnic minority groups; Migrant; Surinamese-origin residents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / ethnology*
  • Ethnicity*
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups
  • Netherlands
  • Suriname / ethnology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires