Topical Area: Global Nutrition
Migration to study in an industrialized country is an important time when unhealthy food choice behaviour among students reach its peak. This dietary pattern is linked to increased risk level of developing food-related chronic diseases (F-RCD). During this period, students tends to consume more ultra-processed diet (high in fat, sugar, & energy) and very low in fruits and vegetable. The main objective of this study was to explore the factors influencing food choice and dietary acculturation of international students using qualitative study design to explore their knowledge/perception on nutrition and the link between food, health and F-RCDs. Recent studies have shown dearth on determinants of food choice, dietary acculturation and its associated health challenges of international students.
International students were recruited by purposive and snowball sampling through poster advert and international office of the University of Chester.
Using an open-ended, semi-structured question guide, focus group interviews was carried out. Focus group data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using manual content analysis and inductive thematic approach.
23 participants were recruited into the study comprising 13 undergraduate and 10 postgraduate students (12 males and 11 females) aged 18-25 years from Africa, Asian, and the Caribbean.
Factors identified by most international students as being the main determining factor on their food choice includes residency status (as a full or semi-catered student), price, availability, accessibility (location of shop), preservation/storage temperature, UK weather conditions, structure of foods in the UK among others.
The results presented here may facilitate the improvements of wellbeing of international students’ by promoting healthy food choice, thereby encouraging positive acculturation of these students.
Funding Sources : This research was funded by the researcher.