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Weight Problem Of Many Immigrants To U.S. May Be Linked With Desire To “Fit In”

May 3, 2011: 01:10 PM EST
Though cheap, convenient and fatty fast foods are usually blamed for the increased weight of immigrants to the United States, a more subtle factor may be the desire of immigrants to “fit in,” researchers have found. In other words, immigrants to the U.S. choose typical American dishes to show that they belong and to prove their “American-ness.” For the study, Asian-American and white college students were asked questions that essentially tested whether they felt insecure about their “American-ness.” A question about English speaking skills, for example, prompted three-fourths of Asian-Americans to mention a typical American food as their favorite. But only 25 percent of Asian-Americans who had not been asked if they spoke English chose those foods.
Sapna Cheryan, et al., "Fitting In but Getting Fat: Identity Threat and Dietary Choices among U.S. Immigrant Groups", Psychological Science , May 03, 2011, © Association for Psychological Science
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