Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 324–332 | Cite as

Stress Is Associated with Unfavorable Patterns of Dietary Intake Among Female Chinese Immigrants

Original Article

Abstract

Background

Chinese immigrants experience increased risk for weight gain and chronic disease after US migration. Whether psychosocial stress affects their eating behavior is unknown.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine psychosocial stress and dietary intake among 426 Chinese immigrant women in the Philadelphia region.

Methods

Participants completed 4 days of dietary recalls and questionnaires assessing positive and negative life events in the past year and migration-related stressors.

Results

In hierarchical linear regression models, positive life events were associated with higher energy intake (β = 21.1, p = 0.04). Migration-related stress was associated with lower total gram (β = −11.3, p < 0.0001) and overall grain (β = −0.18, p = 0.03) intake and higher energy density (β = 0.002, p = 0.04) and percent energy from fat (β = 0.06, p = 0.05).

Conclusions

Migration-related stress did not increase overall intake in terms of energy and total grams but selectively increased fat intake and energy density. Such dietary habits may have implications for future chronic disease risk in this immigrant population.

Keywords

Stress Asian Dietary intake Acculturation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are indebted to Ms. Wanzi Yang, Ms. Qi He, Ms. Rong Cheng, Ms. Bingqin Zheng, Dr. Zemin Liu, and Ms. Yun Song for their crucial work in the collection and management of data for this study. The authors also thank Mr. Andrew Balshem and the Fox Chase Cancer Center Population Studies Facility for their data management support, Dr. Eric Ross and Dr. Brian Egleston for their statistical guidance, Dr. Philip Siu and Dr. Thomas Yuen of Chinatown Medical Services for their generous assistance in participant recruitment, and Dr. Yu-Wen Ying for her guidance on the use of the Migration–Acculturation Stressor Scale and General Ethnicity Questionnaire measures. This work was supported by grants R01 CA106606 and P30 CA006927 from the National Institutes of Health.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.

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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA
  2. 2.Fox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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