AbstractsMedical & Health Science

Changes in the food habits of Chinese students after migration to Helsinki, Finland

by Ting Li

Institution: University of Helsinki
Year: 2010
Keywords: food habits; changes; Chinese student; Finland; dietary acculturation; opinnäytteet; pro gradu-tutkielmat
Record ID: 1142324
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/17111


Globalization encourages migration all over the world. Dietary acculturation, the process of adopting the dietary practices of the host country, has become an interesting issue in community nutrition and nutritional anthropology. This is the first study on Chinese immigrants and dietary acculturation in Finland. In this study, the Koctürk model is used as conceptual framework which had showed its usefulness to structure the various foods and changes which may occur. The thesis aims to investigate whether any changes take place in the food habits of Chinese students after migration to Helsinki, Finland, as well as the food habits which are still maintained after migration. If changes or stability occur, the factors that are associated with the changes or stability are analyzed. Data were collected from 16 Chinese students who study in university of Helsinki, and have been staying in Finland at least 6 months. A tape-recorded interview was arranged, which included a questionnaire and an interview with semi-structured questions. After migration, several changes appeared in meal pattern, food choices and food preparation methods among Chinese students. Breakfast seemed to be the first meal to be “Westernized”. In accordance with the Koctürk model, the cultural importance of breakfast and lunch has diminished, and dinner became the most important meal. Weekend diet became more traditional than weekdays’ diet. Chinese participants still keep festival diet in certain Chinese festivals, and they also tried some typical Finnish festival foods, especially mämmi and glögi. Food choices changed among all food groups—staple, complementary and accessory foods. Of 37 foods listed on the questionnaire, the consumption frequency increased significantly for 14 Finnish style foods and decreased significantly for 7 Chinese style foods. The Chinese students also prepared foods more often by methods such as baking, adding cheese or butter/margarine to foods. The interviews revealed various factors influencing changes and stability: Chinese cultural beliefs, attitude, taste preference, stress, social relations, food cost, convenience, availability and perceived freshness of foods. Elintarvike ja ympäristötieteiden laitos, ravitsemustiede