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Cultural differences in assessing dietary intake and providing relevant dietary information to British African–Caribbean populations

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Diet can play a key role in the management of disorders such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension, conditions highly prevalent in the British African Caribbean population.

In this paper, information not previously available is provided on the dietary habits and foods consumed by a British African–Caribbean population representative of the local community. Food frequency questionnaires were obtained from 255 randomly selected subjects in Manchester (78% of Jamaican origin), the nutrient intake results of which are available elsewhere. Here, suggestions are given to ensure that complete and valid dietary assessments (by diet history) are obtained, and the need for the approach to be somewhat different to that used in the White European population, highlighted with examples. Suggestions have also been listed for methods of dietary modification for obesity, diabetes and hypertension, taking into account differences in cultural understanding and food practices. People of Caribbean origin are not from just one territory: food habits and cultural context play an important role in every island, with clear differences between each which persist in first and later generations in Britain. In this paper, we attempt to integrate experience of learning from patients themselves during consultations and from participants in this study, with direct quantitative data on types of foods and their frequency in the local African–Caribbean diet.

Keywords: African–Caribbean; West Indian foods; dietary advice; dietary assessment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Clinical Epidemiology Group, University of Manchester Medical School, Manchester M13 9PT, UK

Publication date: 2001-12-01

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