Date of Award

August 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Julia Snethen

Committee Members

Julia Snethen, Karen Morin, Teresa Johnson, Lorie Klos


Diabetes and immigration, Dietary Patterns, immigrants health, Iranian immigrants dietary patterns, Middle eastern health in the U.S., Obesity and immigration



Acculturation of the Iranian American immigrants and its influence on dietary patterns of Iranian was investigated. Effect of exposure to the U.S. culture and Western diets and prevalence of chronic diseases were examined. Acculturation was measured using the Iranian Acculturation Scale, and total acculturation score is calculated. Dietary patterns were measured using the Block Brief Food Questionnaire (BFQ), total foods and beverages consumed over the past year, as specified in BBFQ, were studied.

Two hundred seven (N=207) Iranian American immigrants completed the acculturation, food frequency and socio-demographic questionnaires. All participants were born in Iran, were 18 years of age or older and had lived more than one year in the U.S. About 37.5% of participants had acculturation scores indicating Iranian values; the majority (62.5%) had either adapted American values (26.5%) or had combined some American values (36%).

Results indicate age at arrival, length of stay, English fluency, education and income are major factors determining level of acculturation, dietary patterns and prevalence of chronic diseases among Iranian American immigrants. Consumption of Western diet and level of acculturation was less among participants who lived longer (>10 years) in the U.S. and were older when they arrived to the US. The rate of family history of diabetes among participants was 39.1%., though 9% had pre-diabetes and 4% reported being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. A majority of the participants (87%) reported no secondary health concerns related to dietary intake. As Iranian American immigrants grow older their consumption of red meats, fast foods, soft drinks, potatoes, salty snacks, refined grains and sweets were significantly decreased and they consumed more vegetables.

Given growing Iranian immigrants in U.S., a deep understanding of factors influencing dietary patterns of Iranian immigrates is necessary. Our study with small sample size (207) has several limitations, which should be rectified by future researchers. Therefore, conclusion about association between level of acculturation, dietary patterns and prevalence of chronic diseases among participants is limited. New Iranian immigrants especially those with school-aged children may become more aware of consumption of Western diet and ill effects on their overall wellbeing.

Available for download on Saturday, December 14, 2019

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Asian Studies Commons