Acculturation and environmental change impacts dietary habits among adult Hmong

Lisa Franzen, Chery Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Focus groups (n = 65) were conducted with Hmong adults in St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN to determine how environmental factors, acculturation, and food insecurity influence dietary behavior, body mass index (BMI), and health. Acculturation was assessed by examining linguistic, social, and eating behavior, length of time in the US, and BMI for B-TL1 (born in Thailand/Laos and in US ≤5 years), B-TL2 (in Thailand/Laos through adolescence, had food memories, and in US >5 years), and B-US (born in US or in Thailand/Laos less than 8 years and no food memories from there). Acculturation was associated with years lived in the US, household size and income, and food assistance usage. Years lived in the US was correlated with food assistance usage, education, household size and income, and perception of diet. B-TL1 and B-TL2 were on average overweight (BMI ≥ 25 < 30), US men were obese (mean BMI = 32.4 ± 7.4), and women were overweight (mean BMI = 29.1 ± 6.8). Themes identified were cultural values impact eating and lifestyle behaviors, food insecurity history influences post-migration behavior, acculturation impacts BMI through diet and exercise, and health status is influenced by changed environments. Environmental changes and increased acculturation have negatively impacted the weight and health of Hmong adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-183
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Acculturation
  • BMI
  • Dietary patterns
  • Environmental change
  • Hmong adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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