Rovillé-Sausse FN. Westernization of the nutritional pattern of Chinese children living in France. Public Health 119, 726-733

UMR 5145 Eco-Anthropologie, Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, 17 Place du Trocadéro, 75116 Paris, France.
Public Health (Impact Factor: 1.43). 09/2005; 119(8):726-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2004.10.021
Source: PubMed


This paper reports an analysis of dietary habits of children (aged 0-5 years) born to Chinese immigrant parents living in France. The nutritional investigation was made by face-to-face interviews with the mothers. Data were exploited using the general table of food composition. Chinese newborns are practically never breastfed (10%, compared with 55% of French babies). After 12 months of age, they consume a traditional diet but eat few dairy products (only once per day) and fresh fruits (33% never). They consume many soft drinks (85%). Daily calcium and vitamin C intakes are lower than the recommended intakes for preschool children. Dietary habits of the children of first-generation Chinese immigrants are still traditional in terms of the late introduction of new food and the composition of meals, but we observed Westernization of dietary habits such as reduced breastfeeding and high consumption of soft drinks.

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    ABSTRACT: For historical and economic reasons, the Chinese diaspora is present on all continents and has been able to adapt with dynamism to local working conditions on the basis of its cultural identity. For this reason, the present study carried out in France and in Spain, will provide useful information regarding the women and children feeding patterns of Chinese migrant communities living in other countries in the world. The study included two samples of women born in People�s Republic of China, in the province of Zhejiang, and aged between 18 and 40 years. The first group was composed of 152 women living in Madrid (Spain). The second group was composed of 110 women living in Paris (France). During the investigation, 40 women were pregnant, and followed since the beginning of the pregnancy until the childbirth (longitudinal study). Moreover, 70 women having children aged of less than six years detailed the food of their children since the birth (longitudinal study). The analyzed variables (anthropometry, food behaviour) made it possible to evaluate the nutritional status of the women and the future mothers. Eighty one percent of the Chinese women have a �normal� body mass index, 15% have a weight insufficiency and 4% have an overweight. The gestational weight gain and the birthweight of the children are satisfactory. The food pattern, of traditional type, is characterized by low consumption of meat, and an increased consumption of dairy products. One notices the acquisition of negative practices unknown before immigration: consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Knowledge of the food practices of this community is important because it will facilitate understanding of the possible health problems related to nutritional imbalances, and will make it possible to act by prevention and provision of advice to families. Pour des raisons historiques et économiques, la diaspora chinoise est présente sur tous les continents, et a su s�adapter avec dynamisme aux conditions de travail locales, tout en gardant son identité culturelle. Pour cette raison, la présente étude menée en France et en Espagne fournira les informations utiles concernant les modèles alimentaires des femmes et des enfants des communautés migrantes chinoises vivant dans d'autres pays du monde. L�étude incluse deux échantillons de femmes née en République Populaire de Chine, dans la province du Zhejiang, âgées de 18 à 40 ans. Le premier groupe est composé de 152 femmes vivant à Madrid (Espagne) et le second groupe, de 110 femmes vivant à Paris (France). Durant l�enquête, 40 femmes enceintes ont été suivies depuis le début de la gestation, jusqu�à l�accouchement (étude longitudinale). De plus, 70 femmes ayant un enfant de moins de 6 ans nous ont donné les détails sur l�évolution de leur alimentation depuis leur naissance (étude longitudinale). Les variables analysées (anthropométrie, comportements alimentaires) ont permis d�évaluer le statut nutritionnel des femmes et des futures mères. Quatre-vingt pour cent des femmes chinoises ont une corpulence « normale », 15% sont en insuffisance pondérale et 4% sont en surpoids. Le gain de poids gestationnel et le poids de naissance des enfants est satisfaisant. Le modèle alimentaire, de type traditionnel, est caractérisé par une faible consommation de viande et un accroissement de la consommation des produits laitiers. On remarque l�acquisition de pratiques néfastes inconnues avant l�immigration : consommation d�alcool et de tabac. La connaissance des pratiques alimentaires de cette communauté est importante car elle facilitera notre compréhension d�éventuels problèmes de santé liés aux déséquilibres nutritionnels, et permettra d�agir préventivement en donnant les conseils adéquats aux familles.
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity is one of the most serious health problems in children, and it’s frequently related to low activity levels and inadequate nutrition. To evaluate the prevalence of nutritional inadequacy a total of 4845 children (2445 girls and 2400 boys) aged 7-9 years old, were observed. Height and weight were measured according to international standards, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Overweight and obesity, using age- and sex-specific BMI cut-off points as defined by the International Obesity Taskforce, were used. Children’s dietary intake was measured using a 24-h dietary recall by trained researchers. To evaluate nutritional inadequacy, Food and Nutrition Board Dietary Reference Intakes and World Health Organization (WHO) recommended intake goals were used. The prevalence of overweight/obesity in this sample was 30.8% and the proportion of children with an intake below the Estimated Average Intake/Adequate Intake was very low (≤ 10%) for the following nutrients: vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, and PP; and for magnesium, zinc, iodine, phosphorous, selenium, and iron. High prevalences of inadequacy were found for folate (60.5% in girls and 54.6% in boys), vitamin E (63.9% in girls and 59.5% in boys), calcium (45% in girls and 40.7% in boys), molybdenum (89.7% in girls and 87.4% in boys, and fibre (87.8% in girls and 86.7% in boys). Regarding the macronutrients, 65.9% and 78.8% of the individuals were above WHO recommended intake values for protein and total fats, respectively; 22% didn’t ingest lower than WHO carbohydrates intake recommendation. We’ve also found that 81.4% and 97.3% of the individuals were above WHO recommendations for saturated fatty acids and total sugars, respectively. Regarding cholesterol intake, 53% of the individuals ingested more than the recommended by WHO. In conclusion, the prevalence of inadequate intakes of calcium, vitamin E, folate, molybdenum and fibre was unacceptably high, while and the contribution of total fat, saturated fat and sugars were far above the recommended by WHO. This could be associated to major chronic diseases, such as coronary heart diseases, in later life.
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