Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.49(3) > 1081439

Yang: Dietary behaviors of female marriage immigrants residing in Gwangju, Korea



This cross-sectional study aimed to document the dietary behaviors, dietary changes, and health status of female marriage immigrants residing in Gwangju, Korea.


The survey included 92 female immigrants attending Korean language class at a multi-cultural family support center. General characteristics, health status, anthropometric data, dietary behaviors, and dietary changes were collected.


Mean age of subjects was 31.3 years, and home countries of subjects were Vietnam (50.0%), China (26.0%), Philippines (12.0%), and others (12.0%). Frequently reported chronic diseases were digestive diseases (13.2%), anemia (12.1%), and neuropsychiatry disorder (8.9%). Seventeen percent of the subjects was obese (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2). Dietary score by Mini Dietary Assessment was 3.45 out of 5 points. Dietary scores for dairy foods, meat/fish/egg/bean intake, meal regularity, and food variety were low, and those for fried foods and high fat meat intake were also low. Thirty-three percent of subjects answered that they have changed their diet and increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables after immigration. Length of residence in Korea was positively associated with BMI and waist circumference. Length of residence tends to be positively associated with dietary changes and obesity as well as inversely associated with disease prevalence.


The study shows that length of residence is inversely related to disease prevalence. However, this association is thought to be due to the relatively short period of residence in Korea and thus the transitional phase to adapting to dietary practices. As the length of residence increases, disease patterns related to obesity are subject to change. Healthy dietary behaviors and adaptation to dietary practices in Korea in female marriage immigrants will not only benefit individuals but also their families and social structure. Therefore, varied, long-term, and target-specific studies on female marriage immigrants are highly needed.

Figures and Tables

Fig. 1

Dietary change, prevalence of obesity and disease by the length of residence in Korea

1) % 2) Chi-square test
* p < 0.05
Table 1

General characteristics of female marriage immigrants


1) Mean ± SD 2) N (%)

Table 2

Self-reported health status of female marriage immigrants (n = 92)


1) Choose all relevant items

Table 3

Anthropometric data of female marriage immigrants


1) Mean ± SD 2) Significance determined by ANOVA (Analysis of variance) 3) Significance determined by ANCOVA (Analysis of covariance), age-adjusted 4) Different letters denote significant difference at p < 0.05 by Tukey test within the row. 5) NS: not significant 6) Mini dietary assessment score (5 = mostly, 3 = sometimes, 1 = rarely)

* p < 0.05, **p < 0.01

Table 4

Food choice and dietary behaviors of female marriage immigrants (n = 92)


1) Choose all relevant items

Table 5

Changes in Mini Dietary Assessment (MDA) scores (n = 92)


1) Mean ± SD 2) MDA score: 5 = mostly, 3 = sometimes, 1= rarely 3) Reverse scoring

Table 6

Dietary changes after immigration (n = 92)


1) Percent of increased food intake 2) Choose all relevant items

Table 7

Regression model for association between immigrants' characteristics


1) Sum of MDA score 2) β coefficient


This work was supported by grants from Honam University.


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