Thursday, 23 January 2014

Changing plates:generational differences among refugees from the Horn of Africa

Newly arrived migrants are often prone to developing chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes following their arrival in Australia. These diseases are often put down to changing to a more sedentary lifestyle, increased consumption of saturated fats and refined grains and general decreases in active leisure.

A/Prof Andre Renzaho of the Global Health and Society Unit has investigated the attitudes and the differences in acculturation between generations of newly arrived refugees from the Horn of Africa.
In a series of interviews with adults and adolescents from Eritrean, Ethiopian Somali and Sudanese backgrounds, A/Prof Andre Renzaho examined the differences in diet and attitudes to food between the generations.
Whilst the researchers found the respondents were trying to make healthy choices at the supermarket, these were often counteracted by cultural differences, such as the desire to gain weight, which can be seen as a sign of prosperity in the home country.
The research also showed a swing towards a western diet in adolescents, and also a belief that diseases such as obesity and diabetes would only effect older people. Unfortunately, it also showed a reluctance for older people to manage their health effectively through exercise and diet.

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