Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Introduction: Dietary intake and health status of immigrants to various countries are often different from those of non-immigrants living in these countries. Because the diversity of the immigrants and ethnic minorities in Canada is increasing, the association of place of birth with nutrition and health among Canadians needs to be investigated.;Methods: Cross-sectional data from the 1990 Ontario Health Survey (OHS) and the 1990 Quebec Heart Health and Nutrition Survey (QHHNS) were used. A selection of nutritional (dietary, anthropometric, knowledge variables) and health (health problems, lipidemia, consultations with health professionals, cut-down/bed-days, self-perceived health) outcomes were examined among adult respondents (OHS: n = 43,292; QHHNS: n = 2,316). First, immigrants (defined as individuals born outside of Canada) and sub-groups of immigrants (classified by region, sub-region, country of birth) were compared to non-immigrants (Canadian-born individuals) using multiple logistic and linear regression analyses (backward chunckwise approach), adjusting for covariates. Secondly, the acculturation of immigrants (estimated using reported ethnicity, language spoken at home, time since migration) was investigated. The effect of long-term diet and of dietary covariates was explored.;Results: Overall, immigrants were not at an increased risk of dietary and health problems compared with non-immigrants. In general, they consumed less fat and more carbohydrate than did non-immigrants. However, some immigrant sub-groups, particularly Asian sub-groups, were more likely to have "inadequate" calcium, iron, and vitamin intakes than did non-immigrants. Asians also had a lower likelihood of excess weight nd a corresponding greater likelihood of low body mass index. Immigrants were less likely to report a health problem but they had a lower self-perceived health than did non-immigrants. No differences were found for the prevalence of specific health problems. Acculturation rarely affected diet and health.;Conclusion: This research suggests that differences exist in the nutritional and health characteristics of immigrants and non-immigrants in Ontario. More research is needed, including studies of the nutritional and health statuses of sub-groups at high risk, to understand better the differences observed and to help health care providers develop culturally sensitive care.



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