Perceptions of the Host Country’s food culture among female immigrants from Africa and Asia: Aspects relevant for culture sensitivity in nutrition communication


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Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior;2012



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Objective: To explore how female immigrants from Africa and Asia perceive the host country’s food culture, to identify aspects of their original food culture they considered important to preserve, and to describe how they go about preserving them. Design: Qualitative in-depth interviews. Setting: Oslo, Norway. Participants: Twenty one female immigrants from 11 African and Asian countries, residing in areas of Oslo with a population having a low-to-middle socioeconomic status and a high proportion of immigrants. Participants varied in years of residence, employment status, and marital status. Analysis: Analysis of the interviews was guided by a phenomenological approach. Results: Participants emphasized the importance of preserving aspects of their original food cultures and related these aspects to taste, preparation effort and method, and adherence to religious dietary rules. They often perceived the food of the host country as ‘‘tasteless and boring.’’ The authors observed strict, flexible, or limited continuity with the original food culture. Some elements that possibly influenced participants’ degree of continuity are indicated. Conclusions and Implications: Immigrants may strive to preserve aspects of their original food culture after immigration. Nutrition communication becomes more culturally sensitive when it takes such aspects into account



Postprint. “NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2012."

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