Objective: To examine Chinese American children's behaviors, food preferences, and cultural influences on their diet.
Design: Qualitative individual interviews using constructs from the proposed model of dietary acculturation.
Setting: Community centers and Chinese schools in Houston, TX.
Participants: Twenty-five Chinese American children aged 9-13 years.
Phenomenon of interest: Diet, favorite restaurants, and parents' cooking and grocery shopping habits.
Analysis: Content analysis and thematic data analysis to identify code categories and themes. Coders also identified patterns based on demographic and acculturation factors.
Results: Overall, participants described their diets and associated behaviors as Asian and non-Asian. Key themes included preference for Asian and non-Asian foods; consumption of non-Asian foods for breakfast and lunch, but Asian foods for dinner; infrequent dining at restaurants; grocery shopping at Asian and non-Asian stores; and familial influences on diet. Acculturated children and children of higher socioeconomic status appeared to prefer and consume a more Westernized/non-Asian diet.
Conclusions and implications: Results illustrate that Chinese American children in this study practiced both Asian and non-Asian dietary behaviors. Findings corroborated existing acculturation research with parents and caregivers; supported constructs in the model of dietary acculturation; and provide guidance for research and programs related to dietary behaviors, determinants, and culture among this population.
Keywords: Chinese; acculturation; children; culture; diet; food preferences; interviews.
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