Public Health Nutrition


Socio-economic position and lower dietary moderation among Chinese immigrant women in the USA

Marilyn Tsenga1 c1 and Carolyn Y Fanga2

a1 Department of Kinesiology, California Polytechnic State University, 1 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, USA

a2 Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA


Objective To examine associations of education and occupation, as indicators of socio-economic position (SEP), with dietary intake and diet quality in a sample of Chinese immigrant women.

Design Cross-sectional. Data collection included four days of dietary recalls and information on education and current occupation for participants and their spouses.

Setting Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Subjects Chinese immigrant women (n 423) recruited from October 2005 to April 2008.

Results In multivariate models, both higher education level and occupation category were significantly associated with higher energy density and intake of energy and sugar. Education was additionally associated with intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (P = 0·01) and lower dietary moderation (P = 0·01). With joint categorization based on both education and occupation, we observed significant trends indicating higher energy density (P = 0·004) and higher intake of energy (P = 0·001) and sugar (P = 0·04), but less dietary moderation (P = 0·02) with higher SEP.

Conclusions In this sample of US Chinese immigrants, higher SEP as indicated by education level and occupation category was associated with differences in dietary intake and with less dietary moderation. While higher SEP is typically linked to healthier diet in higher-income nations, in these immigrants the association of SEP with diet follows the pattern of their country of origin – a lower-income country undergoing the nutrition transition.

(Received October 28 2010)

(Accepted June 19 2011)

(Online publication August 02 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Email