Investigating obesity risk-reduction behaviours and psychosocial factors in Chinese Americans

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Abstract

Aim: The purpose of this research was to examine the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours related to obesity risk reduction in Chinese Americans. Methods: A questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of 300 US-born and foreign-born Chinese Americans residing in the New York metropolitan area, ranging from 18 to 40 years of age. Obesity risk reduction behaviours and psychosocial variables derived from the Theory of Planned Behaviour and Health Belief Model were measured. Acculturation was assessed using a modified Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale. Frequency distributions were delineated and stepwise regression analyses were analysed for different acculturation groups. Results: 65% of the respondents were female and the mean age of the sample was 26 years. Respondents indicated the most commonly practised behaviour to be eating home-cooked meals instead of restaurant-prepared foods. Perceived barriers to adopting obesity risk-reduction behaviours included convenience of consuming fast foods, cost, lack of time to prepare home-cooked meals, and the physical environment of unhealthy foods. In predicting intention to perform obesity risk-reduction behaviours, attitude was significant for 'western-identified' individuals. In 'Asian-identified' individuals, perceived behavioural control, self-efficacy and perceived benefits were salient. Conclusions: Nutrition educators working with Chinese Americans need to address self-efficacy in preparing plant-based, home-cooked meals and making healthy choices at fastfood restaurants with portion control. Concrete and perceived barriers such as lack of time and convenience need to be addressed in nutrition education interventions. Educators need to identify new channels and media outlets to disseminate practical, easy-to-implement behaviours for obesity risk reduction that are socially acceptable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-330
Number of pages10
JournalPerspectives in Public Health
Volume134
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 Nov 2014

Keywords

  • Chinese Americans
  • Obesity prevention
  • Psychosocial theories

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