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Nutrition Knowledge and Behavior Related to Fat Intake Among Foreign-Born Arabic-Speaking Women

Rehab Al-Dahash, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Background: Upon arrival in the United States, the health of most immigrant and refugee populations is better than that of the general United States population (Wieland et al., 2012). Nutrition knowledge is low among low-income women, which has led to a high burden of obesity among low-income and minority women in the United States (Laz et al., 2015). Methods: In this study, a mixed-method design was used. Forty participants visiting community-based organizations in Lincoln, NE, completed a survey to assess nutrition knowledge, behavior, and intention, applying the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change. Twenty respondents were foreign-born Arabic-speaking women, and twenty were native-born American women—two focus groups with foreign-born Arabic-speaking women and one with community-based organization workers. The quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS software, running a Mann-Whitney test, Kruskal-Wallis test, Spearman's R Correlation Coefficient, and chi-square test. For qualitative data, MAXQDA Qualitative Analysis Software was used. Lastly, a joint visual display integrated quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Results: No significant differences existed in the total score of nutrition knowledge, behavior, and intention related to fat intake between low income native-born American and foreign-born Arabic-speaking women. The more time foreign-born Arabic-speaking women spend in the United States, the more their nutrition behavior improves, and they become at a later stage of change behavior related to fat intake. Community-based organizations workers were working on providing some support and programs to those with some health issues and foreign-born Arabic-speaking women. However, they need more work with other organizations to improve those programs and be more effective. Conclusion: This study may contribute to the awareness of immigrants' diets and support the importance of maintaining their cultures following immigration in ways such as keeping traditional food. Foreign-born Arabic-speaking women looked for health awareness classes on several topics: nutrition or other diseases; improved lifestyle; plans to improve food distribution; and cooking.

Subject Area

Nutrition|Health sciences|Womens studies|Health education

Recommended Citation

Al-Dahash, Rehab, "Nutrition Knowledge and Behavior Related to Fat Intake Among Foreign-Born Arabic-Speaking Women" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI29161125.