Dietary acculturation among the South-Asian Surinamese population in the Netherlands: the HELIUS study

Qaisar Raza, Mary Nicolaou, Marieke B Snijder, Karien Stronks, Jacob C Seidell

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OBJECTIVE: To test Koctürk's model of dietary change among South-Asian Surinamese in the Netherlands. The model categorizes foods into staple, complementary and accessory foods and postulates that dietary change after migration begins with accessory foods while foods associated with ethnic identity (staple foods) change at a slower rate.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional data from the HELIUS study. Dietary intake was assessed with an FFQ. Acculturation was based on social contacts and sense of belonging and was translated into four strategies of acculturation: assimilation, integration, separation and marginalization. Other indicators of acculturation included residence duration, age at migration and migration generation status.

SETTING: Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

SUBJECTS: Participants of Dutch (n 1456) and South-Asian Surinamese origin (n 968).

RESULTS: Across all acculturation strategies, South-Asian Surinamese participants reported significantly higher intakes of rice (staple food) and chicken (complementary food) and significantly lower intakes of red meat and vegetables (complementary foods) and cookies and sweets (accessory food) than Dutch participants. Men, second-generation and assimilated South-Asian Surinamese were inclined towards Dutch foods such as potato, pasta and red meat. Accessory foods like fruits showed variation across acculturation strategies.

CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with the Koctürk model, the intake of staple foods was stable among South-Asian Surinamese irrespective of acculturation strategy while the intake of accessory foods like fruit varied. Contrary to expectations, South-Asian Surinamese showed consistently high intakes of complementary foods like chicken and fish irrespective of acculturation strategy. Public health practitioners should take into consideration the complex and dynamic nature of dietary acculturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1983-1992
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number11
Early online date28 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


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