UBC Theses and Dissertations
Dietary choices in Canadian South Asian adolescents Thind, Shevonne Kaur
Purpose: Current literature identifies protective factors to healthy eating within the adolescent population, such as family meals, yet it fails to acknowledge variation between families and the difference in family structure associated with South Asian culture. The purpose of this descriptive study is to examine the food choices of South Asian adolescents and the extent to which food choices among Canadian-born South Asian adolescents are influenced by their home environment. Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted of the 2013 Adolescent Health Survey. The sample included adolescents who self-selected as South Asian. Measures included sex, immigrant status, yesterday food and drink choices, cultural connectedness and parental presence at evening meals. Differences in food and drink choices were analyzed for foreign-born and Canadian-born adolescents by sex using cross tabulations. Overall healthy versus less healthy eating was analyzed for foreign-born and Canadian-born adolescents by sex using logistic regression adjusting for significant variables, Results: Canadian-born South Asian adolescent males (p<.01) were half as likely to eat healthy than their foreign-born peers when controlling for parental presence at evening meals and engagement in cultural activities. Even after controlling for immigrant status and parental presence at evening meals, both South Asian adolescent males and females who engage in cultural activities (outside of school) weekly are 1.5 times more likely to eat healthy than those who never engage in cultural activities (outside of school) (p<.05). South Asian adolescent females (p<.01) with consistent parental presence at evening meals are 1.6 times more likely to eat healthy than those with inconsistent parental presence at evening meals. Discussion and Implications: This study draws attention to the heterogeneity that exists within this group of adolescents. Country of birth was an important variable, particularly for males. Although this relationship was not seen in females, the value of family meal times for females over males demonstrates that, in addition to country of birth, key sex differences exist with regards to dietary choices in this population. Future research should seek to understand the complex mechanisms which increase the risk of less healthy eating for Canadian-born South Asian adolescent males.
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada