Food preferences, beliefs, and practices of Southeast Asian refugee adolescents.
Food preferences, beliefs, and practices were assessed among 207 Southeast Asian refugee high school students, all of whom had been in the U.S. five years or less. Questionnaires typed both in English as well as their native language of either Cambodian, Vietnamese, or Hmong, were administered to all students in a classroom setting. Results indicated Southeast Asian refugee youth have maintained strong ties to their native foods and traditional meal patterns. In the U.S., as in Southeast Asia, rice remains the staple food in their diet. High status foods in Southeast Asia such as fruits, meats, and soft drinks remain highly preferred in the U.S. While milk is well-liked, cheese remains a strongly disliked food item. Fruits and vegetables are frequently consumed. Nutritionally weak American foods such as candy bars, cake, and potato chips are not consumed frequently. However, soft drinks are consumed daily by almost one-third of the students. Breakfast was missed by almost 60% of females and 37% of males. Forty-five percent of the youth reported they had primary responsibility for evening meal preparation.
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