• The Effect of Cultural Beliefs and Customs on Nutritional Attitudes and Food Choices of Asian Populations Living With Chronic Diseases in the Anchorage Metropolitan Area

      Armour, Alison (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-05-01)
      A chronic disease is a non-infectious, gradually occurring illness that worsens and lasts over a lengthy period (World Health Organization [WHO], 2013). According to the WHO, the number of individuals with chronic disease is increasing worldwide. The rise in numbers is especially dramatic in Asian populations as they make the transition from traditional to Western diets. Studies have shown that chronic disease can be prevented or managed by rejecting the Western diet of processed, refined, high fat foods and adopting a healthier diet. However, little is known about the effect of culture and customs on attitudes towards nutrition. This study explored their influence on the nutritional status and food choices of Anchorage-area Asian adults living with chronic disease. A purposive sample of Asian adults with chronic disease was recruited, a series of focus group meetings were held over a month-long period, and participants were asked questions related to nutrition and culture. Themes were identified and analyzed using the PEN-3 theoretical model and quality of analysis was addressed by following the process proposed by Lincoln and Gruba. Findings indicate that participants in general recognized the benefits of improved nutrition in the management of their chronic disease but had insufficient knowledge or perceived lack of support to make the necessary changes.