Investigating dietary acculturation and intake among US-born and Thailand/Laos-born Hmong-American children aged 9-18 years

Urvashi Mulasi-Pokhriyal, Chery Smith, Lisa Franzen-Castle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective The Hmong are a growing population of South-East Asian immigrants with increasing rates of obesity and diabetes, yet little is known about their dietary consumption patterns. The present study aimed to investigate the dietary intake of Hmong children and whether acculturation and/or time lived in the USA influences dietary intake, BMI and nutritional status. Design Two 24 h dietary recalls were collected on non-consecutive days using the multiple-pass interviewing method and were averaged. Heights and weights were measured, from which BMI was calculated. An acculturation score was computed. Setting Schools, churches, Hmong organizations, and community centres. Subjects Three hundred and thirty-five Hmong children aged 9-18 years from Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA. Results Approximately half of our participants were either overweight or obese. US-born children were significantly heavier, taller, had a higher BMI, and in general consumed more energy, saturated fat and Na than those who were born in Thailand/Laos and were living in the USA for <5 years. Children who were more acculturated to US norms including language use, social connections and dietary habits had higher BMI-for-age and consumed significantly more saturated fat, trans fatty acids, Na and Ca compared with their less acculturated counterparts. Conclusions Diets of most Hmong children appear below the recommendations for fibre, vitamins A, D and E, Ca, P, Mg and K, and are higher in fats, sugars and Na. Living in an obesogenic US environment is a probable reason for poor dietary quality of Hmong and may be a contributing factor to the rising rates of obesity and diabetes in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-185
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • 24 h recall methodology
  • Cultural eating behaviour
  • Dietary acculturation
  • Hmong-American diets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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