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Children’s ‘Becoming’ in Frontiering Foodscapes

  • Helene Brembeck
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series

Abstract

In Sweden the relationship between immigrant children and food is generally considered problematic and the Swedish media links ethnicity to obesity and poor diet, especially in regard to children. ‘Soft drinks and sweets are everyday food for immigrant children in Göteborg suburbs’, reads a daily newspaper headline (Göteborgs-Posten 16-9-2003). A survey from 2003 proves that: 35% of immigrant children in the suburbs of Göteborg are obese or fat, as compared to 20% of the total child population; 44% had soft drinks at least four days a week; and 38% reported that they had free access to sweets and sugary food stuffs at home every day (Nordin 2003). Public statistics confirm this picture. Immigrant children have more soft drinks and sugary and fatty foods than do native children (SBU 2006). The reasons put forward include: ‘culture’ in terms of food habits brought from the home countries, such as sweet fruit juices and an abundance of oil in cooking, practices that are not in tune with up-to-date nutritionist knowledge, social segregation, the combination of deficits in economy, housing and health, like other ‘marginal groups’ such as lone mothers or families on social welfare, the clash of tradition and modernity, and the resultant generational gaps in families where children aspire to the lifestyle of their native peers and their parents want them to stick to the old, most notably witnessed when patriarchic fathers forbid the daughters the freedoms of the receiving countries.

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© Helene Brembeck 2009

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  • Helene Brembeck

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