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Exploring issues related to oral health and attitudes to diet among second-generation ethnic groups

This paper investigates and identifies factors influencing diet among ethnic groups in Glasgow. A qualitative semi-structured research methodology was used. The sample covered the major ethnic groups living in Glasgow. One hundred respondents, both men and women from Pakistani, Indian, Chinese and white backgrounds, aged from 20 to 45 years were chosen. The sampling strategy used the electoral roll, mail shot and the use of social networks. Our qualitative study found that, to a large extent, those from the non-white ethnic groups still maintained a large part of their cultural diet, although they were now slowly moving towards a mixed diet, incorporating western foods. Respondents were aware of the components of a healthy diet, and also about specific oral and general health campaigns. There was also some limited evidence that the second generation is finding itself being culturally torn between the ideas and attitudes of their elders and the current ideas of their peers. There was evidence that hectic lifestyles and long working hours had also led to irregular eating habits. Centrally our findings show the importance that should be placed on the influence of lifestyle, and we see that such influences are not crudely related to class and deprivation, but rather need to be unpacked in relation to type of employment and the forms by which occupational work and time frames influence diet. Although our research has uncovered some evidence for a generational shift in attitudes between current and previous generations, our major finding relates to the importance of lifestyle influences on dietary modification.

Author(s): Kenneth Mullen, Rohan Chauhan, Rafik Gardee, Lorna Macpherson

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