Publication Date


Document Type

Contribution to a Book

Publication Title

Health of South Asians in the United States: An Evidence-Based Guide for Policy and Program Development


Memoona Hasnain, Punam Parikh, Nitasha Chaudhary Nagaraj




Objective: The authors review South Asian American immigrant dietary practices and report on the implications for chronic disease and the nutritional and dietary recommendations to decrease this risk.

Key Findings: South Asians who immigrate to Western countries tend to have higher total carbohydrate intake as a result of refined grains and hidden sugars, higher unhealthy fat intake, and lower fiber consumption. Overall, South Asians 92have a higher susceptibility to metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and their dietary habits further increase the risk for chronic disease.

Recommendations: Targeted nutrition education messages should be provided to South Asian American populations. Dietary recommendations should include (1) limiting refined carbohydrates and hidden sugar intake; (2) replacing unhealthy trans-fat and saturated fat intake with healthier unsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids; and (3) increasing fiber intake by eating more vegetables. Additionally, the new Asian-specific body mass index (BMI) reference values and waist-based measurements should be used when performing nutritional assessments. Finally, given the important role that nutrition plays in chronic disease, more resources should be devoted to research into South Asian dietary practices following immigration.


Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging; Social Work