Dietary Intake, Food Security, and Acculturation Among Somali Refugees in the United States: Results of a Pilot Study

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Cutler, Population Health and Health Policy

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Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies


The pilot study was conducted to test the appropriateness of a nutrition and food security survey and estimate the prevalence of food security and its relationship with dietary intake habits among Somali refugees (n = 35) resettled in the United States. The other main objective was to estimate the association between acculturation and dietary intake habits. The interviews with the Somali mothers indicated that 72% of households were food insecure and, in comparison, the intake of fruits and green leafy vegetables was significantly lower among the food insecure households than among secure households (p < .05). Both of the acculturation indicators used in this survey, living in the United States for four years or more and having English language proficiency, were associated with a high intake of snack items among participants. Future studies examining the influence of food security and acculturation on health outcomes such as body weight are warranted among refugees in the United States.