Food for Soul-Older Immigrants' Food Habits and Meal Preferences After Immigration: A Systematic Literature Review

J Immigr Minor Health. 2024 Jan 2. doi: 10.1007/s10903-023-01571-5. Online ahead of print.


There are few primary studies that focused on the older immigrants' food habits and meal preferences after immigration and settlement in a new country. A comprehensive database search for literature was conducted in May 2021 and upgraded in September 2021. Ten databases (Medline (Ovid), EMBASE (Ovid), PsycInfo (Ovid), Cinahl (EBSCOhost), Food Science Source (EBSCOhost), SocIndex (EBSCOhost), Social Care Online, Applied Social Sciences Index & Abstracts (ASSIA), Web of Science and Google Scholar), were scanned for original, peer-reviewed papers published in English. The review was conducted and reported in accordance with the PRISMA 2020 guidelines and SWiM items. Out of 3069 records, 10 papers were included for thematic synthesis. A data synthesis across all studies resulted in three main findings: (i) the significance of food in maintaining cultural identity, (ii) the continuity of traditional food culture and (iii) adapting to the host country's food culture. Although different forms of dietary acculturation occur throughout life, older immigrants often want to maintain their traditional food habits and meal preferences. For them, traditional eating habits offer comfort and security by serving as a means of identifying who they are and reminding them where they have come from. Public health and social services play an important role in providing cultural nutritional care to older immigrants; therefore, this issue should be carefully addressed by professionals and future research.Registration: The review protocol was registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) on 27 September 2022 with registration number CRD42022358235.

Keywords: Dietary acculturation; Food habits; Healthcare services; Meal preferences; Older immigrants; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review