Food habits are considered to be behavior that does not change quickly as immigrants acculturate. The food environment in the U.S. can be quite different from that in the homeland of many Asian immigrants, who may be unable to retain their traditional food patterns due to cost and/or availability, and who may not have been previously exposed to aggressive food marketing.
The risk of obesity among Asian-American children increases the longer they are in the United States. Agencies and heath organizations serving this population have expressed the need for educational materials focused on helping children achieve healthy weights. In collaboration with county staff, the University of California Berkeley, Center for Weight and Health used focus groups to identify the needs and interests of non-English speaking food stamp recipients about childhood overweight.
The results of the focus groups were used to design a series of culturally sensitive and relevant educational materials that can help immigrant parents understand how they can adapt to a new environment and food supply in a way that will foster the health and welfare of their children. The educational materials were pilot-tested with small groups of parents for cognitive knowledge, change in attitudes about overweight in children, and any intentions to change family health behaviors.