by Abelardo de la Pena Jr.
- We’ve told you about how some recent immigrants to the U.S. start eating unhealthy food, gain weight and become susceptible to diabetes and heart disease. Now, a University of Washington Department of Psychology study shows that some immigrants choose high-calorie American dishes to prove their American-ness.
- Asian Americans were asked to select a dish to eat from local Asian and American restaurants; some were told they needed to be American to participate.
- Those who were told they needed to be American chose such dishes as hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches, consuming an extra 182 calories, 12 grams of fat and 7 grams of saturated fat compared to participants who were not asked if they were American (IFT.org, 4 May 2011).
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- It’s not just the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables that’s causing immigrants to become less healthy the more time they spend in the U.S. People who feel like they need to prove they belong in the predominant culture might change their habits to try to fit in.
- Making healthy choices seem more “American” might entice immigrants to eat more nutritiously.